India’s Modi Set for “Non-Hyphenated’ Visit to Ramallah

YERUSHALAYIM -
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks during an election campaign rally in Bangalore, India, Sunday. (AP Photo/Aijaz Rahi)

Narendra Modi is scheduled to arrive in Ramallah over the weekend, the first Indian prime minister to visit there.

Modi exchanged state visits with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu recently, and relations between the two countries are better than they have ever been. But the Indian leader has made it clear that it does not mean he has deserted the country’s longterm policy supportive of the Palestinian demand for a state.

The visit will be exclusively in the Palestinian territories, no stopover in Israel is planned this time.

B. Bala Bhaskar, a joint secretary in the Indian Ministry of External Affairs, told reporters earlier this week that Modi’s decision to exclusively visit Ramallah is a part of his country’s “de-hyphenation policy.”

According to Bhaskar, India sees its ties with Israel and the Palestinians as “exclusive and independent” of each other, not an Israel–Palestinian policy.

Modi will fly by helicopter on Shabbos morning from Jordan to the Palestinian Authority’s presidential headquarters in Ramallah, according to a PA security official.

“He will not pass through any Israeli checkpoints on his way to Palestine, but we are coordinating his flight with Jordan and Israel,” the official said in a phone conversation, according to the Jerusalem Post.