Modi to 'Honor' Arafat in 'Historic Palestine Visit,' Three Weeks After Netanyahu's India Tour

Purpose of the visit is to show solidarity with the Palestinian people and India's commitment to 'deepening ties with Palestine'

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi flies a kite watched by his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu and Netanyahu's wife Sara during their visit to Gandhi Ashram in Ahmedabad,  January 17, 2018.
\ AMIT DAVE/ REUTERS

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit the Yasser Arafat Museum in Ramallah during his official visit to the West Bank this weekend, according to the Indian Foreign Ministry. At the museum, Modi will be attending a ceremony "in the honor of the departed leader," a senior ministry official told journalists on Monday.

According to the official, the purpose of the "historic visit" is to demonstrate India's solidarity with the Palestinian people and its commitment to "deepening ties with Palestine."

Over the last three years, he added, India has been making significant contribution to "the Palestinian cause." Indian support includes favoring Palestinian causes at the United Nations, and joint projects including in security, healthcare, tourism, agriculture and culture, the official said.

Modi is scheduled to arrive in Ramallah on February 10. The prime minister is scheduled to meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, which would make it their fourth meeting. Following their personal meeting, and broader meetings between the teams, Modi and Abbas will be making statements to the press and attending a gala dinner.

Indian support includes favoring Palestinian causes at the United Nations, and joint projects including in security, healthcare, tourism, agriculture and culture, the official said.

Indian Foreign Ministry briefing.

From Ramallah, that night Modi will be traveling to Jordan and to the UAE.

Under Modi, India views its relations with Israel and with the Palestinians as separate things.

Last month, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara visited India. They met with Modi and were greeted with much fanfare wherever they went in the subcontinent. Modi and Netanyahu also signed a number of agreements including on gas exploration and aviation and shipping lines.