India to invest more than $ 42 million on capacity-building projects in Palestine

Prime Minister Narendra Modi being conferred the Grand Collar of the State of Palestine by Palestine President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah on February 10, 2018.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi being conferred the Grand Collar of the State of Palestine by Palestine President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah on February 10, 2018.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a historic visit to Palestine today and held talks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on the entire gamut of bilateral ties after which the two sides signed six agreements on projects worth more than $ 42 million.
The documents signed today include a memorandum of understanding (MoU) under which an India-Palestine Super-specialty hospital would eb set up at Beit Sahour in the Bethlehem Governorate at a cost of $ 30 million.
The two sides also signed MoUs for construction of an India-Palestine Centre for Empowering Women, "Turathi", at a cost of $ 5 million; for setting up a new National Printing Press at Ramallah at a cost of $ 5 million; for the construction of a school in Muthalth Al Shuhada village at a cost of $ 1 million and another school in Tamoon village in Tubas Governorate at a cost of $ 1.1 million; and for the construction of an additional floor at the Jawahar Lal Nehru for Boys at Abu Dees with  an assistance of $ 0.25 million.
Mr. Modi, who is the first Indian Prime Minister to visit Palestine. He had made a transit halt in Amman, Jordan yesterday and flew to Ramallah in a helicopter provided by the Jordan government and escorted by choppers from Israel Air Force.
"Reached Palestine. This is a historic visit that will lead to stronger bilateral cooperation," he said on micro-blogging site Twitter.
Mr. Modi was given a rousing welcome in Ramallah. In a significant gesture, President Abbas conferred on him the Grand Collar Honour, which is Palestine's highest honour, in recognition of his "wise leadership". Mr. Modi described the award as an honour for the  people of India.
Earlier, Mr. Modi laid a wreath at the mausoleum of late Palestine President Yasser Arafat and also went around the museum.
Later, at a joint media interaction with Mr. Abbas, Mr. Modi referred to India's age-old and time-tested ties with Palestine and said India had always accorded high priority to  Palestinian interests in its foreign policy. He said he had assured Mr. Abbas of India's continued support for the Palestinian cause. "India hopes to see Palestine emerge soon as as a sovereign, independent state in a peaceful atmosphere," he said.
He said Mr. Abbas and he had discussed regional and international issues, especially those which have a  bearing on peace and security in the region. He said India hoped to see peace and stability in the region.
Mr. Modi said a permanent solution to the Palestinian issue could be found only  through dialogue so that Palestine and Israel could peacefully co-exist. He said continuous efforts must be made towards this goal because there was so much at stake.
Mr. Modi said India had been training Palestinian diplomats but the two sides would now cooperate in setting up an institute of dipllomacy in Ramallah to train young diplomats.
He appreciated the determination shown by Palestinian youth in extremely harsh and difficult conditions and said the aspirations of the young people in both countries were the same. He said India wished for them an environment in which there would opportunities for "progress, prosperity and self-dependence."'
Later in the evening, Mr. Modi reached Abu Dhabi on a two-day visit to the United Arab Emirates (UAE)  on the second leg of his three-nation tour that will also take him to Oman. He was received by Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al Nahyan, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, and other members of the ruling family of the emirate.
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