Nathan Schmidt / Bethlehem
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be the first Indian Prime Minister to visit Palestine when he arrives in February as part of a 4-day regional tour.
According to a statement from the Indian Ministry for External Affairs, during the tour, which includes Oman and the UAE, Prime Minister Modi ‘will hold discussions on matters of mutual interest’ with regional leaders.
Prime Minister Modi’s tour comes less than a month after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited India in what he heralded as an historic visit.
‘Together we are bringing the relationship between our people and our countries to new heights,’ Netanyahu said in a post to Twitter during his visit.
Prime Minister Modi became the first Indian Prime Minister to visit Israel during his state visit in July, 2017. As part of the visit, both Prime Ministers renewed commitments to weapons production and sale between the two nations, namely the production of 8,000 anti-tank missiles to be developed and sold to India. Production is to be carried out by Israeli weapons manufacturer, Rafael Advanced Defence Systems.
Prime Minister Modi has been in office since 2014 and has championed a policy of economic reform and social conservatism.
The Bharatiya Janata Party which is headed by Prime Minister Modi holds the majority in the Indian National Congress.
The party’s values are deeply conservative and in-line with a deeply nationalist vein of Hinduism that has proven popular and rallied support for Modi’s successive political campaigns.
In recent years, Prime Minister Modi and the Janata Party have been accused of fostering and protecting Hindu extremists who’s clashes with the country’s Muslim population have resulted in heavy casualties and wide spread protests in the country’s Muslim-majority regions.