India reaffirms commitment to Palestinian cause
New York: India on Tuesday reaffirmed its commitment to the Palestinian cause and solidarity with the Palestinian people.
“India’s support for the Palestinian people and the Palestinian cause is historical, going back to a period before our own independence,” External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said in her intervention at the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Ministerial Meeting on Palestine on the margins of the UN General Assembly session here.
“For independent India, support for the Palestinian cause has been a reference point of its foreign policy,” she said.
Recalling that the NAM Committee on Palestine was set up during India’s chairmanship of the Movement in 1983, Sushma Swaraj said that New Delhi’s commitment to the Palestinian cause and solidarity with the Palestinian people “can never be undermined”.
“I strongly believe that India’s expanding relations in the region with all nations will only strengthen the Palestinian cause,” she said.
Stating that India reiterated the need for a just and durable peace in the Middle East during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Israel earlier this year, she said that “this clearly lies in an early negotiated solution between Israel and Palestine based on mutual recognition and security arrangements”.
Sushma Swaraj also recalled her visit to Palestine in January last year when she and her Palestinian counterpart Riyad Maliki decided to establish a ministerial-level joint commission to better manage cooperation activities between the two sides.
After the first meeting of the commission was held in November 2016, Palestine President Mahmoud Abbas came to India on a state visit in May this year.
“We have through these high-level engagements continuously tried to expand our bilateral cooperation even further, to help strengthen the economy in the Palestinian territories and improve the lives of the people living there,” Sushma Swaraj said.
“During the state visit of President Abbas, agreements for cooperation in the fields of agriculture, information technology, health and in youth affairs & sport were signed,” she added.
“We also took the decision to set up an information technology park in Ramallah that can serve as an information technology training and service providing hub.”
Stating that India has been voluntarily contributing to the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) for several years now, Sushma Swaraj said: “In 2016, we contributed $1.25 million towards its budget, and we are committed to maintaining this support on a multiple-year basis.”