Diplomatist Magazine Diplomatist April 2018 - Page 40

MIDDLE EAST NOTEBOOK cause is rooted in our own freedom struggle.” When Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas visited India in May 2017, PM Modi reassured him of India’s support towards the Palestinian cause. In December 2017, India upheld its support to the Palestinian cause by favouring a UN resolution that criticized America’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. It was a crucial vote just before Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s India visit in January 2018. India’s support to Palestine has not completely been dictated by considerations of domestic politics, particularly its perceived reluctance to alienate considerably large Muslim minority. New Delhi’s Palestine policy has been a vital component of India’s energy diplomacy with oil-rich Gulf countries, India’s Kashmir dispute with Pakistan, and for ensuring the safety of the Indian diaspora in the Gulf region. Nobody can deny that Islamabad continues to have a strong political constituency across the Arab world – nurtured by Islamic faith as well as strong military ties – which has often tipped the balance in the region in its favour vis-à-vis New Delhi. Drawing attention to India’s rising status as a global power, President Abbas called for a potential Indian role in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. He said: “We believe in the importance of a possible Indian role... to reach a final agreement based on international consensus and resolutions.” However, PM Modi did not commit India to such a role, realizing the complex political realities of the region. However, India continues to give unreserved support for reconstruction and development work in Palestine. India has signed six agreements worth around $50 million with the Palestinian Authority that include setting up of a super speciality hospital, a centre for empowering women, procurement of equipment and machinery for the National Printing Press and signifi cant investment in the education sector. PM Modi was also conferred upon the ‘Grand Collar of the State of Palestine’ in recognition of his contribution in promoting India-Palestine relations. The Gulf region, which supplies almost 70 percent of India’s crude oil requirements, occupies an important place in India’s foreign policy matrix, as underlined by PM Modi’s visit to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for the second time in the last three years. It is hoped that PM Modi’s visit will facilitate mutually benefi cial cooperation between India and the UAE. Indians constitute the largest expatriate population in UAE, numbering almost one-third of the total population of the country. They have played a signifi cant role at every stage of the country’s growth, helping lay the foundations of UAE’s remarkable infrastructure. A majority of Indians live in the three largest cities of UAE – Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah. The UAE’s Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan was the chief guest for the 68th Republic Day celebrations last year. The crown prince of Abu Dhabi is the deputy supreme commander of the UAE Armed Forces. PM Modi’s August 2015 trip to UAE was historic in the sense that it was the fi rst visit by Indian prime minister in more than three decades. Trade and economic ties are becoming vital to the India-UAE relationship. Bilateral trade was $60 billion in 2015, and both sides aim to take it to $100 billion by 2020. The Modi government is hoping that a more robust engagement with UAE will help India reap the benefi ts in infrastructure, energy and counter-terrorism. The increasing importance of UAE in Indian diplomacy can be explained against the backdrop of Ё)ѥ͕ɥ䁱͍Qɥٽѥ)9ɕɄ5)ݕѡ ɽݸ)Aɥԁ)Mɕ) ȁT)ɵɍ̰Ʌ)M5 )i啐9典)́ɥمЁԁ)UѕɅɅѕ́)Յ(Ʌɑ䁅AѕѥѥЃY؃%ՔЃɥఁ9