December 18, 2018

Modi embarks on 4-day West Asia visit

11 February 2018, 01:51 | Devin Moran

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Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi left for a four-day tour to the Middle East on Friday, which will bring an Indian premier to Palestine for the first time.

The visit, which comes weeks after Modi hosted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, is seen as an Indian effort to balance its strengthening ties with the Jewish state. They had earlier met on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in 2015, at the Paris climate summit later that year and during the Palestine President's visit to India last year.

10 after transiting through Jordan as part of his three-nation tour to Gulf and West Asian countries that began on February 9. If successful, the country's influence in West Asia would increase, enabling for further promotion of Indian interests in the conflict-prone region.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi embracing Jordan King Abdullah II on his arrival. He also expressed honest thanks to Jordan for logistical support extended for smooth facilitation for his Palestine visit.

India had recognised Israel as a state way back in 1950 but did the same with Palestine only in 1988.

He will make a historic visit to Palestine, the first by an Indian prime minister. PM Modi's visit will help in opening the door wider for providing more investment opportunities to new business men and investors, the Omani envoy said.

On Saturday, Modi will leave for Palestine where he is scheduled to hold discussions with President Mahmoud Abbas and reaffirm India's support for the Palestinian people and the development of Palestine. Modi will also meet the Ruler of Dubai and Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid and visit a painting exhibition by Ramesh Shukla, Suri said.

In a significant gesture, President Mahmoud Abbas conferred Narendra Modi with Grand Collar Honour, which is Palestine's highest honour, in recognition of PM's wise leadership.

Prime Minister Modi, who is on his maiden trip to Palestine, will be received by President before the ceremonial welcome in the compound of the Presidential Headquarters, also known as Muqata'a. He will also hold bilateral talks with Zayed bin Sultan al-Nahyan to develop the comprehensive strategic partnership between the nations.

To cooperate in the field of manpower, India and the UAE signed an MoU that aims to institutionalise the collaborative administration of contractual employment of Indian workers in the Gulf country.

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