As Prime Minister Narendra Modi embarked on a historic visit to Palestine, he said the Gulf and West Asian region was a key priority in India’s external engagement. Aiming at strengthening ties with the regional powers, Modi will also visit UAE and Oman, besides meting King Abdullah II of Jordan during his transit stay in Amman on Friday.
“Redefining our neighbourhood from a maritime perspective! Prime Minister Narendra Modi embarks on a 4-day visit to Jordan, Palestine, UAE and Oman from 9-12 February to deepen our multifaceted ties with the Gulf and West Asian region,” external affairs ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar tweeted as Prime Minister took off from New Delhi.
While it is PM Modi’s fifth visit to the Gulf and the West Asian region since 2015, this will be first-ever prime ministerial visit to Palestine from India.
“This region is a key priority in our external engagement. We enjoy vibrant multi-dimensional ties with the countries here. I look forward to strengthening India’s growing and important ties with West Asia and the Gulf region through the visit,” Modi said in his departure statement.
On Palestine, Modi said he was looking forward to his discussions with President Mahmoud Abbas and reaffirming India’s support for the Palestinian people and the development of Palestine.
After Palestine, he will embark to UAE on February 10-11 and will wrap up the tour in Oman on 12th. He is slated to address the 6th edition of the World Government Summit in Dubai, where India is the guest country. Modi said he will engage with leading UAE and Arab CEOs in Dubai on the vast economic opportunities in India and what more can be done to bolster business collaboration.
Describing the Gulf country as a “valued strategic partner”, Modi said that India has fast-tracked cooperation with the UAE in all major spheres, including economy, energy, high technology and security.
“I will be discussing our progress in these areas and more in my meetings with His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi,” Modi said in his post.
Noting that Oman was a close maritime neighbour with whom India enjoys excellent relations, Modi said in the last leg of his trip from February 11-12, he will visit the country for the first time as prime minister and will hold talks with the Sultan of Oman and other key leaders.
“I shall also interact with leading businesspersons of Oman on developing stronger economic and business links with India,” the prime minister said.
India and Oman have thriving links rooted in centuries old people-to-people exchanges, Modi said. On the final day of his visit on February 12, he would interact with leading businesspersons of Oman on developing stronger economic and business links with India.
More than 9 million Indians work and live in the Gulf region, of which about one third live in the UAE alone. In Oman, they constitute the largest expatriate community, he noted.
“The Indian diaspora is a bridge of friendship between India and the Gulf states. They are also active participants in the prosperity and progress of their host countries,” he said.
(With inputs from PTI)