PM Modi reaffirms India’s commitment to Palestinian statehood

India hopes that soon Palestine will become a sovereign and independent country in a peaceful manner, Modi said during his speech


NH Web Desk

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday became the first Indian Prime Minister to pay a state visit to Palestine. The text of the speech given by the the PM has been reproduced below:

Members of the media, ladies and gentlemen,

[Good Morning]

It is a matter of great pleasure for any Indian Prime Minister to visit Ramallah.

President Abbas, I thank you for the warm welcome you have extended to my delegation and myself, and for the kind words you have said in my honour.

Excellency, You have so cordially bestowed upon me the highest honour of Palestine. It is a matter of honour for India and a symbol of friendship and goodwill of Palestine for India.

The old and strong historical connect between India and Palestine has stood the test of time. Supporting the Palestinian cause has always been at the top in our foreign policy. Constantly. Unshakably.

Therefore, today in Ramallah, standing with President Mahmoud Abbas, I am very happy. I had the fortune of welcoming him during his visit to India last year.

I am happy on adding a new chapter to our friendship and support of India (to Palestine).

I had the opportunity of paying tributes at Abu Amar Mausoleum. He was one of the most significant leaders of his times. His role in the struggle of Palestine is incomparable. Abu Amar was also a special friend of India. Visiting the museum dedicated to him is an unforgettable experience for me. I once again pay my heartfelt tributes to Abu Amar.

Ladies & Gentlemen,

The people of Palestine have displayed phenomenal courage and tenacity while constantly facing challenges and crises. You have displayed a rock-solid will in dealing with these circumstances.

And that, too, despite the fact that there has always been an environment of instability and insecurity which hampers progress and negates the benefits gained by a tough struggle. The way you have marched forward, amid such challenges and difficulties, is indeed praiseworthy.

We appreciate your spirit and the faith in efforts for a better tomorrow.

India has been a very old associate of Palestine in its efforts toward nation-building. We have collaborations in the field of training, technology, infrastructure development, project assistance and budgetary support.

As a part of our new initiative, we have launched a technology park project here in Ramallah. When it is complete, we hope that this institute will work as a service centre for promoting employment and skills.

India is also collaborating in building an Institute of Diplomacy in Ramallah. We believe that this institute will emerge as a world-class organisation for the young diplomats of Palestine.

Mutual training is also a part of the long and short-term syllabus of capacity-building cooperation. Recently, in various sectors, for example in the major educational institutes of India, the training and scholarship slots for Palestine’s nationals were also increased.

I am happy that during this visit, we are taking our development cooperation further. India will continue investing in health and educational infrastructure, a woman empowerment centre and setting up of a printing press in Palestine.

We consider this contribution a building block for an energetic Palestinian state.

On the bilateral level, we have agreed on making our relationship stronger through ministerial-level Joint Commission Meeting.

For the first time, India and Palestine had an exchange of youth delegation. Investment in the youth and cooperating for their skill development and strengthening their relations are our shared priority.

India, like Palestine, is a country of youth. Our aspirations for the future of Palestinian youths are the same that we have for Indian youth, a future where the opportunities for progress, prosperity and self-dependence are available to them. They are our future and the successor of our friendship.

I am happy in announcing that this year we will increase the number of youth exchange of students, from 50 to 100.

Ladies & Gentlemen,

In today’s discussion, I once again assured President Abbas that India is committed to be considerate of the interests of the Palestinian people.

India hopes that soon Palestine will become a sovereign and independent country in a peaceful manner.

President Abbas and I have held a discussion on the recent developments on the regional and global level, related to the peace and security in Palestine.

In this sense, India strongly hopes for peace and stability in this region.

We believe that ultimately the permanent answer to the question of Palestine lies in the discussion and understanding through which the path of peaceful coexistence can be forged.

It is only through intense diplomacy and farsightedness that we can be free of the burden of history and the cycle of violence.

We know that this is not easy. But we should continue trying hard because a lot is at stake.

Your Excellency, I thank you with my heart for your fabulous hospitality.

I, on behalf of 1,25 billion Indians, extend my heartfelt best wishes for the progress and prosperity of the Palestinian people.

Thank you.

(Translated from Hindi by Pragati Saxena).

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