The Palestinian diplomat thanked India COVID-related medical assistance and repatriation of Palestinians stranded in India through VBM flights

The Indian government has expressed hope for early resumption of direct negotiations between Israel and Palestine to achieve a sovereign, independent, viable and united state of Palestine living within secure and recognized borders. India said it wants Palestine to live side by side and at peace with Israel.

The views were expressed during the 3rd Round of India-Palestine Foreign Office Consultations between the two sides led by Secretary (Consular, Passport and Visa and Overseas Indian Affairs) Sanjay Bhattacharyya and Deputy Foreign Minister of State of Palestine Dr Amal Jadou Shakka.

Both sides, during talks, reviewed their bilateral relations and took stock of the progress achieved on decisions which were taken at the last Joint Commission Meeting held in Ramallah in November 2016, and during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s historic visit to Palestine in February of 2018.

They appraised the progress of eight ongoing projects in Palestine implemented under a cumulative grant of US$59 million and agreed on fast-tracking them where feasible, said the Ministry of External Affairs. These projects include the construction of three schools, an IT park, a women empowerment center, a diplomatic institute and a super specialty hospital and supply of equipment for their national printing press. Furthermore, India and Palestine will sign additional protocols for extending the time-lines of some of the projects in coming weeks.

Both sides also exchanged views on the COVID-19 situation and discussed the steps being taken to address public health and socio-economic challenges posed by the pandemic. The Palestinian diplomat thanked India’s COVID-related medical assistance and repatriation of Palestinians stranded in India through Vande Bharat Mission (VBM) flights.

Moreover, they also discussed education and capacity building cooperation as an important plank of India-Palestine relations. Besides 150 ITEC slots and 100 ICCR scholarships given annually, the Ministry of External Affairs said the Government of India has been organizing several tailor-made training programmes for Palestinian government officials. India has also offered a grant of scholarships to Palestinian students for degree courses in nursing, pharmacy, pathology, paramedics etc. and internship programmes for their doctors in Indian hospitals.

The Ministry of External Affairs will also sponsor training fo Palestinian solar mamas at Barefoot College, Tilonia; organize an artificial limb fitment camp in Ramallah in partnership with Bhagwan Mahaveer Viklang Sahayata Samiti (BMVSS), and undertake a number of quick impact community projects as per requirements by Palestine.

India and Palestine agreed on the importance of continuing an upward momentum in their relationship through exchange of regular visits and bilateral meetings.