In­dia Will Host Pales­tinian Prez Be­fore PM Modi Heads for Is­rael

In­dia to ex­tend more aid to Pales­tinian ca­pac­ity-build­ing dur­ing President Ab­bas’ visit

The Economic Times - - Pure Politics - Di­pan­janRoy.Chaud­hury @times­group.com

New Delhi: In­dia will host Pales­tinian President Mah­moud Ab­bas in a diplo­matic bal­anc­ing act be­fore Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi heads for Is­rael to­wards the mid­dle of this year for the first visit by an In­dian head of govern­ment to Tel Aviv since es­tab­lish­ment of bi­lat­eral diplo­matic re­la­tions in1992. Fur­ther­ing strate­gic ties with West Asia has been a pri­or­ity for the BJP-led NDA govern­ment. It has walked the ex­tra mile to en­gage the Arab coun­tries as well as Iran, even as it has con­sol­i­dated re­la­tions with Is­rael, with an aim to cre­ate an an­titer­ror nar­ra­tive and se­cure its en­ergy and hu­man re­sources in the re­gion. While Ab­bas has vis­ited In­dia in the past this will be his maiden trip to In­dia since the Modi govern­ment as­sumed of­fice in May 2014. Dur­ing the ten­ure of this govern­ment President Pranab Mukher­jee vis­ited Pales­tine along with Is­rael in 2015 in keep­ing with In­dia’s long­stand­ing prin­ci­ple of a twostate so­lu­tion to end the pro­tracted cri­sis in the re­gion.

Ab­bas will be mak­ing a stand­alone trip to In­dia, with­out in­clud­ing Pak­istan, which he vis­ited sep­a­rately re­cently. Strate­gic af­fairs an­a­lysts said that most lead­ers from West Asia, Gulf and Egypt are in­creas­ingly un­der­tak­ing stand­alone trips to In­dia. The de-hy­phen­ation comes in the back­drop of In­dia’s grow­ing eco­nomic pro­file and ris­ing threats from ter­ror groups that also have a pres­ence in the Af-Pak re­gion.

The visit will be held in the back­drop of the first Indo-Pales­tinian Joint Com­mis­sion meet­ing last year and In­dia’s par­tic­i­pa­tion in a con­fer­ence on Is­rael and Pales­tine or­gan­ised by France in Paris. In­dia is ex­pected to ex­tend fur­ther as­sis­tance to Pales­tinian ca­pac­ity-build­ing dur­ing Ab­bas’ visit be­sides ex­plor­ing busi­ness ties, peo­ple fa­mil­iar with the developments said.

“No coun­try is big or small and ev­ery coun­try is a sovereign en­tity. This has been the motto of PM Modi as his govern­ment has em­barked on a mis­sion mode to en­gage with all na­tion states,” said an of­fi­cial, who did not wish to be iden­ti­fied. Ab­bas is not the only West Asian leader, though, that In­dia will be host­ing ahead of Modi’s Is­rael trip on the oc­ca­sion of 25 years of cre­ation of diplo­matic ties. Jor­da­nian royal court chief Fayez Tarawneh, who is num­ber two in hi­er­ar­chy in his coun­try, is ex­pected to un­der­take a trip in March to pre­pare for the King’s visit to In­dia later this year.

While Ab­bas has vis­ited In­dia in the past this will be his maiden trip to In­dia since the Modi govt as­sumed of­fice in May 2014

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