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India-Palestine Relations
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INDIA-PALESTINE RELATIONS

         India’s support for the Palestinian cause is an integral part of the nation’s foreign policy. In 1974, India became the first Non-Arab State to recognize Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) as the sole and legitimate representative of the Palestinian people. In 1988, India became one of the first countries to recognize the Palestinian State. In 1996, India opened its Representative Office in Gaza, which was later shifted to Ramallah in 2003.

  2. India has always played a proactive role in garnering support for the Palestinian cause in multilateral fora. India has consistently supported, co-sponsored, and voted in favour of UN General Assembly Resolutions securing the right to self-determination of Palestinians (Res.74/139, 2020), urging Israel’s compliance with legal obligations viz. ICJ’s Construction of the Wall Opinion (ES-10/15, 2004), and its status as a non-member State at the UN (Res.67/19, 2012). In 2011, India also voted in favour of Palestine becoming a full member of UNESCO. The NAM Ministerial Committee on Palestine was established under India’s Presidency during the VII NAM Summit in New Delhi in 1983. As a member of the Security Council, India continues to voice its support for a negotiated solution resulting in a sovereign, independent, viable and united State of Palestine, within secure and recognized borders, at peace beside Israel as endorsed in the relevant UNSC and UNGA Resolutions.

Bilateral Visits & Political Interactions

  3. There have been regular high level bilateral visits between India and Palestine. Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi paid a historic visit to Palestine on February 10, 2018, the first for an Indian Prime Minister. This followed President Shri Pranab Mukherjee’s historic visit to Palestine in October 2015 (First visit by an Indian President to Palestine). There were also other high level visits from India to Palestine in recent years, namely visits of Late Smt. Sushma Swaraj, External Affairs Minister in January 2016 and Shri M.J. Akbar Minister of State for External Affairs in November 2016. Late President Yasser Arafat visited India several times. President Mahmoud Abbas visited India in 2005, 2008, 2010, 2012 and in May 2017 on his third State Visit. During his Visit in 2017, President Abbas had discussions with Rashtrapatiji and Prime Minister while the Vice President and EAM called on him. During the COVID-19 pandemic, in April 2020, Prime Minister spoke with President Abbas over the phone. Later in April 2020, External Affairs Minister Dr S. Jaishankar discussed issues of mutual interest including cooperation in the fight against Coronavirus, with Foreign Minister of Palestine Dr Riad Malki telephonically. EAM S Jaishankar also met FM Malki at Doha in June 21.  On November 2, 2021, Hon’ble Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Prime Minister of Palestine Dr. Mohammad Shtayyeh met during the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference held at Glasgow, United Kingdom.

Joint Commission Meeting

  4. The first ever Joint Commission Meeting (JCM) between India and Palestine was held in Ramallah in November 2016. The JCM was co-chaired by Shri M.J. Akbar, Minister of State for External Affairs and Dr. Riad Malki, Foreign Minister of Palestine.

Foreign Office Consultations

  5. The first ever Foreign Office Consultation (FOC) between India and Palestine was held in Ramallah in May 2015. The second round of FOC was held in New Delhi in April 2017. The third round of India-Palestine Foreign Office Consultations were held virtually in September 2020 with Shri Sanjay Bhattacharyya, Secretary (CPV & OIA) leading the Indian delegation and Dr. (Mrs.) Amal Jadou Shakka, Deputy Minister for Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates, leading the Palestinian side.

Developmental Cooperation

  6. India has been providing various forms of developmental cooperation assistance to Palestine amounting to approximately US$ 141 million. India has pledged US$ 70.6 million worth of developmental assistance to Palestine and US$ 197,030 worth of quick impact projects. India has also provided a total of US$ 39 million of budgetary support to the Palestinian Authority, in addition to a total of US$ 26.5 million to UNRWA since 2009. Our support also includes the provision of medical assistance in the form of medicines, including 25,000 doses of Covaxin provided to Palestine in 2021. India has been increasing scholarships and training opportunities to Palestine, which stand at 50 ICCR scholarships and 168 ITEC slots. In July 2021, India also offered a Line of Credit worth USD 50 Million to Palestine for implementing developmental and sustainable projects.

  7. One of the key ongoing projects is the Palestine-India Techno-Park with GoI’s grant of US$ 12 million, which is at an advanced stage, set for inauguration, with young Palestinian entrepreneurs, start-ups and companies currently setting their platforms at the Project. The major past development assistance projects include:

 (i) Construction of Jawaharlal Nehru Library at the Al Azhar University in Gaza city;

 (ii) The Mahatma Gandhi Library-cum-Student Activity Centre at the Palestine Technical College at Deir Al Balah in the Gaza Strip;

 (iii) Providing land and funding the construction of the chancery building for the Embassy of Palestine in New Delhi;

 (iv) Two schools built in Palestine in 2015;

 (v) India-Palestine Centre of Excellence in ICT and Innovation in Al Quds University, Abu Dis in 2015 and another ICT centre in Ramallah in 2016, and;

 (vi) Vocational Training Centers at Yatta and Palestine Polytechnic University, Hebron.

  8. Currently eight bilateral developmental projects are in progress, involving grants of USD 57.85 million (including 6 projects worth USD 41.3 million, announced during PM Modi’s February 2018 visit to Ramallah). These include: Palestinian Institute of Higher Diplomacy in Ramallah; National Printing Press at Ramallah; construction of Super-specialty hospitals in Bethlehem and Ramallah; “Turathi” - Women Empowerment Centres at Ramallah and Gaza; additional floor in GoI-funded Jawahar Lal Nehru for Boys School at Abu Dees; and schools in Muthalath Al Shuhada Village In Jenin Governorate and in Tamoon village in Tubas Governorate.

  9. Moreover, in 2021 India supported four quick impact projects with different municipalities and educational centers, namely Rehabilitation of Yasser Arafat Square in Ramallah City, Integration of Technology into Education with the Young Scientists Club (Al Muntada), Establishing Beitunia Municipality Nursery, and Construction of Aqraba Children Park.

Scholarships and ITEC training for Palestinian Nationals

  10. ICCR: India provides 50 ICCR scholarships for Palestinian students annually for higher studies in Graduate, Post-Graduate and Ph.D courses in India. During the visit of the Prime Minister in February 2018, it was announced that ICCR Scholarships for Palestine wereraised from 50 to 100. Over 170 students have availed scholarships in the fields of computer engineering, mechanical engineering, management, among other, from Delhi university, Gujarat Technical university, IITs, and other premier universities. Additionally, Palestinian students can avail of ICCR scholarships under the Scholarship Scheme for Indian Art & Culture and Graduate, Post-graduate and Ph.D courses under the AYUSH Scholarship Scheme to study Indian Traditional Medical System such as Ayurveda, Yoga, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy (AYUSH).

  11. Indian Technical & Economic Co-operation (ITEC) Scholarships: 168 slots are offered to Palestine annually under the Indian Technical & Economic Cooperation Programme (ITEC) for training courses in India aimed at capacity building and skill enhancement for short term courses in various disciplines such as Information Technology, Public Administration, Proficiency in English Language, Entrepreneurship, Rural Development, Renewable Energy, Cyber Technology, Quality Management, Health & Yoga etc. More than 1300 Palestinian nationals have availed ITEC training in India.

  12. Further Details on India’s developmental cooperation and financial assistance to Palestine can be found at Annexure - I.

IBSA Cooperation

  13. India, Brazil, South Africa (IBSA) Fund has also funded four projects in Palestine with total of US$ 4,959,700, namely Indoor Multipurpose Sports Complex in Ramallah, Phase I and Phase II of Cardio-Thoracic Unit of Palestinian Red Crescent Society's Al Quds hospital in Gaza, Atta Habib Medical Center in Gaza and Rehabilitation Centre for People with Mental Disabilities in Nablus.

United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA)

  14. India supports Palestine and Palestinian refugees through its contributions to UNRWA. India is a member of its Advisory Commission from 2020. India increased its annual contribution to UNRWA from US$ 1.25 million to US$ 5 million in 2018. India contributed US$ 5.0 Million for the year 2019 and delivered the committed US$ 5.0 Million for the years 2020 and 2021.

Bilateral Trade

  15. Trade between India and Palestine is conducted through Israel and therefore, comprehensive trade statistics are not available. India-Palestine annual bilateral trade volume is worth USD 67.77 million for the year 2020. As per the data published by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, Indian exports and imports were USD 67.17 million and USD 0.6 million, respectively. Figures of previous years reflect a sharp rise in bilateral trade between 2017 and 2019. Annual bilateral trade was worth USD 68.6 million, 66.6 million, and 46.2 million for the years 2019, 2018, and 2017, respectively. The Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics reports that India has a share of only 0.06% of Palestine’s exports, while India ranks 13th among the importing countries for Palestine with 1.1% share of total Palestine’s imports.

  16. Indian exports to Palestine include marble, granite, articles of stone, plaster and cement, basmati rice, raw material for making vaccines, coffee, cashew nuts, sugar, sweet biscuits, sacks and bags for the packing of goods, animal products, vegetable products, prepared foodstuffs, mineral products, chemical Industries, plastics, leather and furskins, wooden industries, textiles, headgear, umbrellas, walking sticks, seat-sticks, natural or cultured pearls, precious or semi-precious stones, precious metals, mineral products, base metals, machinery and mechanical appliances; vehicles and associated transport equipment, optical, photographic, cinematographic, measuring, checking, precision, medical or surgical instruments and apparatus; clocks and watches and musical instruments’ parts and accessories. On the other hand, Palestinian exports are mainly Fresh and dried dates, virgin olive oil and its fractions and articles of base metal.

  17. In terms of sectors - automotive spare parts, medical tourism, agro and food products, textiles, fabrics, readymade garments, household appliances, stationery products, leather and leather products, agro-chemicals, plastic products, pharmaceuticals and engineering goods could be the target sectors for Indian manufacturers and exporters.

  18. With a view to impart momentum to bilateral trade, the Mission, in partnership with the Palestinian Minister of National Economy, organized the first business seminar “India Surging Ahead” in 2019 and a Business Webinar between Palestinian Businessmen Forum and Indian Economic Trade Organization "Bridging Markets, India-Palestine" in 2020. Moreover, Representative Office of India, Palestine, organized “Jharokha: Celebrating Crafts of India” Exhibition, in association with Hebron Chamber of Commerce and Industries, in February 2022.

  19. Palestinian business delegations attended India Stone Mart Exhibition at Jaipur in March 2019, PRINTPACK INDIA 2019 International exhibition (14th edition) at India Expo Centre, Greater Noida, Delhi NCR in February 2019, and the 4th and 5th edition of ‘IndusFood’ organized by Trade Promotion Council of India in March 2021 and January 2022.

  20. Representative Office of India is facilitating the communications between various Indian and Palestinian commercial bodies, through which the parties are negotiating memoranda of understanding within their mandates. An MoU on cooperation between Trade Promotion Council of India (TPCI) and Ramallah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (RCCI) was signed, under the auspices of Representative of India to Palestine and Palestinian Minister of National Economy in February 2022. Other consultations are being undertaken between Invest India and Palestinian Investment Promotion Agency (PIPA/IPIEA); and Department of Science and Technology, Government of India (NIF) and Higher Council for Innovation and Excellence, Palestine (HCIE).

Culture & People to People relations

  21. Indian arts and culture, especially Indian movies, enjoy immense popularity in Palestine. As part of ongoing Azadi ka Amrit Mahostav, several cultural activities, including film screenings and photo exhibitions have been organized by the Representative Office of India in various Palestinian cities. The Indian Cultural Week (23-30 November 2021) was also organized by Mission, in association with ICCR and Palestinian Ministry of Culture. The week-long cultural event covered the cities of Bethlehem, Jericho, Nablus and Ramallah.

  22. In 2014, a bust of Mahatma Gandhi was unveiled at the Garden of Nations in Ramallah. In 2015, an exhibition of paintings of Islamic Monuments in India, and a food festival was organized in Ramallah. Since 2015, International Day of Yoga (IDY) celebrations have been celebrated with immense popular support and participation.

  23. India-Palestine Youth Exchange Programme was started in 2017. A 50-member Palestinian youth delegation visited India in May 2017 followed by a 29-member Indian youth delegation visiting Palestine from September 14 – 21, 2017. During the visit of the Prime Minister in February 2018, it was announced that from 2018, 100-member youth delegations would visit New Delhi and Ramallah.

*****

February, 2022

 

Annexure

I. Financial Support to the Palestinian Authority

A total of $39,000,000 was transferred to the Palestinian Authority as financial support since 2009:

S. No.

Details

Amount

I.      

March 2009, following the visit of President Abbas to India in the year 2008

$10,000,000

II.    

March 2010, following the visit of President Abbas to India in February 2010

$10,000,000

III.   

2012, during the visit of President Abbas India

$10,000,000

IV.  

2015 (US$ 4 million was provided as project assistance towards the reconstruction of Gaza in January 2015, and US$ 5million was provided as budgetary assistance in October 2015)

$9,000,000

 

II.Government of India’s Medical Assistance to Palestine

  • In 2006, Government of India supplied medicines worth of $2,000,000 to Palestine.

III. Government of India’s Developmental Projects in Palestine

 

S. No.

Project

Details:

I.      

Setting up of Palestinian Institute of Diplomacy / Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates

  • MoU signed 05.02.2017
  • Fund: $4,500,000
  • Status: in progress

II.    

MOU on setting up of Palestine India Technopark Project in Birzeit, Ramallah, Palestine / President’s Office

  • MoU signed 30.10.2016
  • Fund: $12,000,000
  • Status: Project in the final stage

III.   

India-Palestine Super-specialty hospital at Beit Sahour in Bethlehem / Ministry of Health

  •   MoU signed 10.02.2018
  •   Fund: $29,000,000
  •   Status: Project in initial stage

IV.  

India Palestine Centre for Empowering women, “Turathi” / Ministry of National Economy

  •   MoU signed 10.02.2018
  •   Fund: $5,000,000
  •   Status: Project in progress

V.    

National Printing Press at Ramallah / Ministry of Finance

  •   MoU signed 10.02.2018
  •   Fund: $5,000,000
  •   Status: Project in progress

VI.  

Construction of school in Muthalath Al Shuhada Village In Jenin Governorate/ Ministry of Education

  •   MoU signed 10.02.2018
  •   Fund: $1,000,000
  •   Status: completed

VII.   

Construction of school in Tamoon village in Tubas Governorate in Palestine / Ministry of Education

  •   MoU signed 10.02.2018
  •   Fund: $1,100,000
  •   Status: completed

VIII.                 

Construction of additional floor to Jawahar Lal Nehru for Boys School at Abu Dees./ Ministry of Education

  •   MoU signed 10.02.2018
  •   Fund: $238,149
  •   Status: completed

IX.  

Construction of Chancery cum residences of the Palestine Embassy in New Delhi

  •   MoU signed in 2006
  •   Fund: $3,000,000
  •   Status: completed

X.    

Setting up of India-Palestine Centre for Excellence in ICT in Al Quds University

  •   MoU signed in 2012
  •   Fund: $650,000
  •   Status: completed

XI.  

Construction and Equipping two Schools in Abu Dees and Aseera

  •   MoU signed in 2012
  •   Fund: $1,800,000
  •   Status: completed

XII.   

Supply of Technical & Vocational Education Training (TVET) Equipment and Training Services to 7 Vocational Training Centres

  •   Fund: $3,000,000
  •   Status: Work has been completed at two centres

XIII.                 

Construction of Jawaharlal Nehru Library at the Al Azhar University in Gaza City

  •   Fund: $800,000
  •   Status: completed in 1999

XIV.                 

Mahatma Gandhi Library-cum-Student Activity Centre at the Palestine Technical College at Deir Al Balah, Gaza

  •   Fund: $500,000
  •   Status: completed in 1999

XV.  

Gandhi Education Park in Beitunia

  •   Fund: $25,000
  •   Status: completed

 

IV.Government of India’s Quick Impact Projects in Palestine:

A total of US$197,030 was pledged to the Palestine to implement quick impact projects:

S. No.

Project

Details:

I.     

Rehabilitation of Yasser Arafat Square in Ramallah City/ Ramallah Municipality

  •  MoU signed February 2021
  • Fund: $50,000.00
  •   Status: completed

II.    

Integration of Technology into Education / Young Scientists Club (Al Muntada)

  •   MoU signed February 2021
  •   Fund:$46,960.00
  •   Status: completed

III.  

Establishing Beitunia Municipality Nursery / Beitunia Municipality

  •   MoU signed February 2021
  •   Fund:$50,000.00
  •   Status: in progress

IV.  

Construction of Aqraba Children Park / Aqraba Municipality

  •   MoU signed February 2021
  •   Fund:$50,070.00
  •   Status: in progress

 

V. India-Brazil-South Africa (IBSA) Projects:

A total of US$ 4,959,700 was transferred as part of IBSA fund:

S. No.

Project

Details:

I.     

Construction of Recreational and Sports Center Ramallah

  •   Fund: $1,065,000
  •   Status: Completed

II.    

Construction and Equipping of a Center for Persons with Severe Intellectual Disabilities, Nablus

  •   Fund: $1,250,000
  •   Status: Completed

III.  

Rehabilitation of Cultural and Hospital Center in Palestinian Red Crescent Society in Gaza City

  •   Fund: $1,644,700
  •   Status: Completed

IV.  

Reconstruction of Atta Habib Hospital/Medical Center in Gaza City

  •   Fund: $1,000,000
  •   Status: Completed

 

  1. Government of India contribution to UNRWA

India increased its annual contribution to UNRWA from US$ 1.25 million to US$ 5 million in 2018.  India contributed US$ 5.0 Million for the year 2019 and delivered the committed US$ 5.0 Million for the years 2020 and 2021.

Year

Amount Disbursed

2009

$1,000,000

2012

$1,000,000

2014

$1,000,000

2015

$1,000,000

2016

$1,250,000

2017

$1,250,000

2018

$5,000,000

2019

$5,000,000

2020

$5,000,000

2021

$5,000,000

Total:

$26,500,000

 

 

 
 
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