With Prime Minister Narendra Modi all set to visit Israel and not travelling to neighbouring Palestine, India today said its relations with each country was independent and separate, a clear signal of de-hyphenation of its ties with the two West Asian nations. Briefing reporters on Modi’s three-day visit starting July 4, Joint Secretary (in-charge of the West Asia region) B Bala Bhaskar also said India is keen to develop greater cooperation in homeland security between the two countries, which have good defence ties.
Asked if the visit has received any negative message from Palestine, Bhaskar said, “Our relations with each country is independent of relationship with other countries. Each relationship is separate… this visit is also different.” He also referred to the visit of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in May when the two sides exchanged views.
After the meeting with Abbas, Modi had asserted that “India has been unwavering in supporting the Palestinian cause.” The MEA official also said the two countries are engaged in diversifying and strengthening ties in key areas besides exploring new avenues of cooperation. While Modi is not travelling to Palestine, President Pranab Mukherjee in 2015 and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj in 2016 visited both the countries.
Modi and his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu will hold comprehensive talks on July 5 to explore ways to enhance cooperation in key strategic areas. The two sides are also expected to sign number of agreements in the field of innovation, development, science and technology and space.