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India underlines unwavering support to Palestinian cause

An Indian girls selling miniature Indian tricolour flags waits for customers at the corner of a busy crossroad in Mumbai on August 11, 2015. India celebrates its anniversary of independence from Britain on August 15 with great pomp and show with a patriotic fervour gripping the nation. The Indian tricolour is hoisted with great pride atop prominent buildings and homes as a mark of respect to all those who laid down their lives to make India an independent nation. AFP PHOTO / INDRANIL MUKHERJEE

Brussels: India has once again stressed its support for the struggle of the Palestinian people to create an independent and viable Palestinian state .

“India’s steadfast support and continuing commitment to Palestine is rooted in our modern history that goes back to our own struggle for independence,” Ankan Banerjee, counsellor at the Indian embassy here, told an international conference on Palestine taking place in the Belgian capital.

He noted that AIndia’s position on the issue of Palestine has always been firm and clear.

“India re-affirms its support for the Palestine cause and expresses solidarity with the Palestinian people for their struggle for a sovereign, independent, viable and a united state of Palestine within secure and recognized borders side-by-side and at peace with Israel with East Jerusalem as its capital, as endorsed in the Quartet Roadmap and relevant UNSC Resolutions,” Banerjee said.

The conference, organised by the UN Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People in Brussels was held on Monday and Tuesday. The theme of the meeting was “Israeli Settlements as an Obstacle To Peace…Possible Ways Forward””

Banerjee noted that this international meeting was happening a year after last year’s unfortunate escalation of the Gaza conflict.

“We are worried that since last year, there has been a downward trend in the peace process despite efforts for serious negotiations between the parties which remained inconclusive. India remains firmly convinced that dialogue remains the only viable option that can effectively address the issue,” Banerjee underlined.

Apart from political support to the Palestinian cause, India continues to support the development and nation-building efforts of Palestine by consistently extending it technical and financial assistance, he said.

In July 2015, a new secondary school for Girls in Asera Al-Shamalyeh in Palestine was inaugurated. This is a part of India’s larger capacity building initiatives in Palestine.

India contributes $1 million annually to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).

India pledged and contributed $4 million in response to the National Early Recovery and Reconstruction Plan for Gaza.

“We are undertaking important bilateral development projects in the areas of health, education, skill development, vocational training as well as providing budgetary support to the Palestinian government,” said the Indian diplomat.

A large number of diplomats and representatives of civil societies and academics took part in the conference.