Mahmoud Abbas arrives Sunday in India for 4-day visit

 Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is scheduled to arrive in New Delhi Sunday for a four-day official visit to India upon an invitation from Indian President Pranab Mukherjee, according to official Palestinian news agency Wafa.

The Palestinian president will hold talks with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday and is scheduled to sign a number of memorandums in different fields of cooperation.

As concerns have been raised over Modi skipping Palestine during his Israel visit, unlike other Indian heads who made stopovers in both Israel and Palestine, Abbas visit is aimed at showing New Delhi’s continued support for the West Asian country.

“India and Palestine enjoy historically close and friendly ties. Apart from the political support to the Palestinian cause, India continues to support developmental projects in Palestine by extending technical and financial assistance,” external affairs ministry statement said.

The visit will provide an opportunity for reviewing the entire gamut of bilateral relations, Middle East Peace Process, regional and international issues. MoUs on cooperation in various areas are expected to be signed during the visit, government officials said.

President Pranab Mukherjee had visited Palestine in October 2015 and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj in January 2016.

This is the fifth visit and the third state visit to India by President Abbas. Earlier he had substantive meetings with Prime Minister Modi on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York in September 2015.

During the visit, President Abbas will visit C-DAC in Noida on May 15 to forge cooperation between Palestine – India Techno Park being built by India in Palestine and Indian IT industry. He will also visit India Islamic Cultural Centre in Delhi.

On May 16, President Abbas will be given a ceremonial guard of honor at Rashtrapati Bhavan followed by wreath laying by him at Mahatma Gandhi’s Samadhi, Raj Ghat.

Delegation-level discussion with Modi will be held the same day. During his stay in Delhi, Abbas will also call on Sushma Swaraj and Vice President Hamid Ansari.

Abbas will be accompanied by Deputy Prime Minister Ziad Abu Amr, Foreign Minister Riad Malki, Diplomatic Advisor Majdi Khaldi, Presidency Spokesperson Nabil Aburdeineh and Palestine’s Chief Judge Mahmoud Habbash.