Palestine seeks India’s participation in West Asia peace process

Ramallah: On the first day of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj’s visit, Palestine sought India’s participation in the West Asia peace process.

Describing India as “not just a friend but a brother”, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas applauded New Delhi’s consistent support for the Palestinian cause.

Soon after her arrival in Palestine, Swaraj met with her counterpart Riyad al-Maliki in Ramallah. Al-Maliki told Swaraj that India’s wisdom and political insight can be very useful in defusing tensions in the West Asia region. The Palestinian side also offered to step up cooperation with India in counter-terrorism. The Indian minister emphasized that India’s stand on the Palestinian issue hasn’t changed.

External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup tweeted about the visit calling it ‘A fresh momentum to an old friendship’.

He wrote that the Palestinian President also hosted a lunch for the Indian Minister. Swaraj said India’s solidarity with Palestinians and principled support to the Palestinian cause is rooted in India’s own freedom struggle.

The External Affairs Minister paid a floral tribute at Mahatma Gandhi’s bust in Ramallah, which is the administrative capital of Palestine. The Minister also paid tribute at the mausoleum of iconic Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. Swaraj also inaugurated the India-Palestine Digital Learning and Innovation Centre as part of capacity building efforts undertaken by the Indian government in Palestine.

After her engagements in Palestine, Swaraj will head back to Israel for her two-day visit there. During it, she will hold discussions with the top Israeli leadership to review a whole range of areas of cooperation between the two countries. Swaraj’s visit comes three months after President Pranab Mukherjee’s historic trip to the region. (ANI)