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PM Modi to visit Palestine, meet Abbas during 3-nation West Asia tour

MEA spokeperson said Modi's visit is being undertaken as part of a larger exercise to fulfil the government's domestic and international agenda

IANS  |  New Delhi 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi

Narendra Modi's upcoming visit to Palestine, the and will be of strategic importance in terms of energy and security cooperation and counter-terrorism efforts, officials here said on Monday.

"We are looking at this visit not only from the extended neighbourhood perspective but also from the maritime perspective," (MEA) spokesperson said at a media briefing here.

said that Modi's visit is being undertaken as part of a larger exercise to fulfil the government's domestic and international agenda.

"Our effort during this visit and also during earlier visits is to broadbase our engagement with these countries moving towards a more strategic sphere both on trade and investment as well as on defence and security," he stated.

Giving details of the leg of the visit, B. Bala Bhaskar, Joint Secretary (and North Africa) in the MEA, said that Modi will visit on February 10 and hold talks with the Palestinian leadership following a number of agreements will be signed.

This will be the fourth meeting between Modi and President and comes after the latter's visit to India last year.

Stating that there are four dimensions to the visit to Palestine, Bhaskar said that this will be first ever prime ministerial visit from India to that country.

Secondly, India has contributed immensely to Palestine's nation-building efforts, including infrastructure development and capacity building.

Bhaskar said that since the historic visit of then President to in 2015, work on projects worth $30 million has commenced.

This apart, the visit is also aimed at deepening the huge bilateral agenda, including cooperation in the areas of health, IT, tourism, youth affairs, sports and agriculture.

The fourth aspect, according to Bhaskar, is India's continuous support to the Palestinian cause at various international fora. India had voted in the in December last year against US President Donald Trump's unilateral recognition of as the capital of

The visit will also de-hyphenate and Palestine after Modi's standalone visit to in July last year.

Modi will reach in the (UAE), which is home to a huge Indian diaspora, on February 10 evening -- his second visit after August 2015.

Mridul Kumar, Joint Secretary (Gulf), said Modi will hold talks with the on February 10 following which several agreements will be signed. The next day, he will meet members of the Indian community and lay the foundation stone of a temple via video link.

From Abu Dhabi, Modi will proceed to where he will deliver the keynote address at the Sixth World Government Summit.

He will also meet Vice President and of the and Ruler of and some select CEOs of companies from Gulf countries.

India-ties were elevated to that of a Comprehensive and Strategic Partnership during Modi's visit in 2015.

Stating that the UAE is a key source of energy, Mridul Kumar said the relationship has gone beyond buyer-seller to that of -- UAE was the first contributor to the Indian Strategic Petroleum Reserve, an emergencey fuel store.

He also said that the UAE has done a lot in meeting India's foreign direct investment (FDI) requirements.

"These include an investment of $500 million in low cost housing," Mridul Kumar said. "They are also looking at ports, logistic centres and food parks."

The UAE is also the first partner of India's National Investment and Infrastructure Fund and invested $1 billion as the anchor investor.

From Dubai, Modi will reach on February 11 in what will be the first prime ministerial to that Gulf nation in 10 years since the visit of then Manmohan Singh in 2008.

Modi will hold talks with Oman's Sultan Qaboos Bin Said Al Said and also meet a group of Omani CEOs.

Mridul Kumar said that is a country of strategic importance for India and defence forces of the two country have held joint exercises.

First Published: Mon, February 05 2018. 21:17 IST