UAE- Burj Khalifa lights up with Indian national flag

Casey Dawson
February 11, 2018

Modi was on Saturday conferred with the "Grand Collar of the State of Palestine" by President Mahmoud Abbas in recognition to his contribution to promote relations between India and Palestine.

Abu Dhabi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will tomorrow witness the foundation stone-laying ceremony for the first Hindu temple in the capital of the UAE, home to over three million people of Indian origin. The Palestinians see east as their future capital. India will also provide young Palestinians with vocational training.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to the Gulf and West Asia from February 9 to 12 may be his fifth overall, yet there is a maiden angle to it. India and Palestine enjoy time-tested and close friendship driven by former long-standing support to the Palestinian cause.

The Indian leader is on a four-day regional tour which includes Palestine, the UAE, and Oman. Modi arrived to the Palestinian territories from Jordan, flying in with his officials on helicopters supplied by King Abdullah II of Jordan. "We rely on India's role as an worldwide force of great standing through its historical role in the Non-aligned Movement and its increasing, growing power in strategic and economic levels, in a way that is conducive to a just and desired peace", said Abbas in a joint press statement.

The Palestinians have rejected the US sponsorship of peace talks with Israel in the wake of Washington's decision to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in early December.

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Analysts say that although India wants its relations with the two countries to be independent of each other, the tilt is toward Israel, which is now among the top defense suppliers to New Delhi. During his maiden visit to previous year, Modi did not travel to His standalone visit to had led to analysts questioning the future of the Indo-Palestine ties.

Modi is also expected to meet His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, on Sunday in Dubai and might also visit the Wahat Al Karama, the UAE martyrs' memorial in Abu Dhabi. Modi last visited the country in August 2015. He was received by Abu Dhabi's Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

Elaborating on India's plans to increase manufacture of defence equipment, export material and components, she said there was scope for defence co-operation via investment from the UAE.

Ahmad Majdalani, a PLO Executive Committee member, said that improved relations between Israel and India could benefit the Palestinians.

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