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Jordan King to deliver talk on Islamic heritage, moderation during India visit


Press Trust of India New Delhi
A special address on Islamic heritage and promoting moderation will be a major highlight of Jordanian King's three-day visit here beginning tomorrow during which both sides will look to expand ties in a range of key areas including defence and security.

King Abdullah II, a 41st generation direct descendant of Prophet Muhammad, is known for his global initiative to fight radicalisation and terrorism and is also the custodian of the Al-Aqsa mosque, the third holiest site in Islam, located in the Old City of Jerusalem.

India considers Jordan an "oasis of stability and harmony" in conflict-ridden West Asia and New Delhi would like to deepen bilateral ties in diverse areas during the King's visit, officials said, adding both sides will also look to finalise a framework for defence cooperation.

The Palestinian issue, ways to deal with terrorism, radicalisation and extremism are likely to figure, apart from key bilateral and regional matters, in talks between the king and Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday, they said.

The officials said PM Modi, diplomats, representatives from Islamic institutions of all denominations, academicians, think-tanks and representatives from across the country are expected to attend the special address by the Jordanian king at Vigyan Bhavan on Thursday.

The topic -- 'Islamic heritage; Promoting Understanding and Moderation' -- has been selected by the king himself, the sources said.

A number of representatives from a number of Arab countries may also attend the lecture.

A translation of a book "A Thinking Person's Guide to Islam -- the Essence of Islam in 12 versus from the Quran" will also be released at the event, being organised by the India Islamic Cultural Centre.

The influential leader's India visit comes nearly three weeks after the prime minister visited Jordan as part of his recent trip to West Asia, including to Palestine. Modi's visit to Jordan was the first bilateral trip by an Indian prime minister in three decades.

"We attach great importance to our ties with Jordan as it is an oasis of stability and harmony in an area of conflict," said a source, reflecting on the significance of the Jordan king's visit.

The sources said both sides are expected to ink a number of agreements to expand cooperation in several key sectors including health care, IT, customs and will look to firm up a framework pact for defence and security cooperation.

They said the king, who had served the Jordanian armed forces, was particularly keen on having defence and security cooperation with India.

In their talks, Modi and the king are also likely to explore ways of deepening trade ties. Twenty textile industries from India have invested around USD 300 million in Jordan.

Giving an example of the warmth in ties between the two countries, the sources said the king was travelling abroad and came back to Amman to receive Modi. He received Modi at his residence despite it being a holiday in Jordan.

He had appreciated Modi for undertaking a "stand alone" visit to Palestine through Amman and also for India's strong support to the Palestinian cause.

Asked whether India would like to be part of the negotiation process on the Palestinian issue, the sources said there was "no thinking" to get involved in it.

Jordan's royal helicopters had flown Modi and his delegation from Amman to Ramallah and back during the visit.

The Jordanian king, who will be accompanied by a high-level business delegation, will also call on President Ram Nath Kovind on Thursday and he will host a banquet for the visiting leader.

During his stay here, the king will also visit the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, to explore collaboration in areas of science and technology, and will address a congregation of industry tycoons.

On whether the issue of 39 missing Indians will be discussed during talks between Modi and the King, sources said it had figured during the prime minister's parleys with Palestinian leadership in his recent trip to Palestine.

About the Kashmir issue, the sources said Jordan has a very neutral position over it since 1970s.

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First Published: Feb 26 2018 | 7:30 PM IST

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