Palestinian Prez Arrives In India To Strengthen Ties

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New Delhi: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas arrived on Sunday on a four-day visit to India in a bid to strengthen ties with New Delhi ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s historic trip to Israel.

The Palestine President arrived with a delegation for his third state visit to India, where he will hold key talks on bilateral, regional and international issues, including the peace process in the restive Middle East, according to the Foreign Ministry.

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On Monday, he will zip to an IT centre in Noida, a satellite city outside the Indian capital, aiming to forge greater cooperation in technology. He is also slated to make an address at New Delhi’s India Islamic Cultural Centre in the evening. On the second day, he will meet with Prime Minister Modi, his Indian counterpart Pranab Mukherjee and Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj after a ceremonial welcome at the presidential palace and lay a wreath at Mahatma Gandhi’s memorial.

Abbas and Prime Minister Modi will sign several deals “on cooperation in various areas”, the Foreign Ministry said. “India and Palestine enjoy historically close and friendly ties,” it said in a statement late on Saturday, reiterating India’s “political support to the Palestinian cause”.

New Delhi is hosting Abbas ahead of Hindu nationalist Modi’s unprecedented visit to Israel reportedly in July, the first-ever by an Indian premier, with observers calling it a balancing act by India to assuage both sides. India has traditionally voiced its support for Palestinian statehood, initially shunning diplomatic relations with the Jewish state.