Diplomatist Magazine Diplomatist April 2018 - Page 39

MIDDLE EAST NOTEBOOK NEW DYNAMISM IN INDIA’S WEST ASIA POLICY BY VINAY KAURA* I ndian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent visit to three Arab countries was aimed at enhancing India’s engagement with West Asia. The visit, which underscored the evolution of India’s ‘Look West’ policy, was PM Modi’s fi fth offi cial visit to West Asia in the last three and a half years. High-level engagements have ensured that India’s voice is being heard in a region that is witnessing power rivalries amidst political unpredictability and deteriorating security environment. PM Modi’s visit to Palestine was the most signifi cant. This was the fi rst ever visit to Palestine by an Indian prime minister, and happened at a time when bilateral relations between India and Israel are on an upward trajectory. India was the fi rst non- Arab country to recognise Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) as the sole representative of the Palestinian people. On his Palestine visit in October 2015, then President Pranab Mukherjee had remarked that “India’s solidarity with the Palestinian people and its principled support to the Palestinian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi meets the President of the State of Palestine Mahmoud Abbas at Ramallah, Palestine on February 10, 2018. Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Diplomatist • Vol 6 • Issue 4 • April 2018, Noida • 37