New York [U.S.A.], September 19 (ANI): External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Tuesday attended the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Ministerial Meeting on Palestine and reaffirmed India's support for the Palestinian people and the Palestinian cause at the United Nations General Assembly.
"It is a personal honour for me to be here today. India's support for the Palestinian people and the Palestinian cause is historical, going back to a period before our own independence," Sushma said.
"For independent India, support for the Palestinian cause has been a reference point of its foreign policy," she added.
Sushma further asserted that the NAM Committee will always have a special place for India as it was set up during India's Chairmanship of the Movement in 1983.
India has been extending technical and economic assistance to Palestine in the form of humanitarian relief, development projects, establishment of educational institutions, budgetary support, and training of Palestinian officials.
She said, "India's commitment to the Palestinian cause and its solidarity with the Palestinian people can never be undermined."
"I strongly believe that India's expanding relations in the region with all nations will only strengthen the Palestinian cause," Sushma added.
She reiterated the need for a just and durable peace in the region and mentioned Prime Minister Modi's visit to Israel in July this year to mark 25 years of the diplomatic relations.
"The path to this clearly lies in an early negotiated solution between Israel and Palestine based on mutual recognition and security arrangements," Sushma said.
The External Affairs Minister emphasised on high-level engagements, which have continuously tried to expand bilateral cooperation to help strengthen the economy in the Palestinian territories and improve the lives of the people living there.
"It is a matter of great personal satisfaction for me that over the last two years the tempo of our partnership with the Palestinian people has been significantly stepped up. In January 2016, during my visit to the Palestinian territories, I along with H.E. Riyad Maliki took the decision to establish for the first time ever a Ministerial level Joint Commission to better manage our cooperation activities. The first meeting of the Commission was held in November that year. In May 2017, India had the honour of receiving H.E President Mahmoud Abbas on a State Visit," she said.
"During the State Visit of President Abbas, agreements for cooperation in the fields of agriculture, information technology, health and in youth affairs & sport were signed. We also took the decision to set up an information technology park in Ramallah that can serve as an information technology training and service providing hub," she added.
The UNGA mandated UN Relief and Works Agency or UNRWA has been delivering valuable public services to Palestinian refugees around the world.
Sushma said, "India has been voluntarily contributing to the UNRWA for several years. In 2016, we contributed 1.25 million dollars towards its budget, and we are committed to maintaining this support on a 'multiple-year basis'."
"Many more of us in this Movement can, based on our capacities, contribute to this valuable organization. I can think of no better way to manifest in a practical manner, NAM solidarity for the Palestinian cause and the Palestinian people," she added. (ANI)