Responding to a question on the stalled dialogue process between Israel and Palestine since September a year ago, the Secretary said, “We closely follow developments in Israel and Palestine and we would like tension to come down as it is in their as well as our interest”. He said the country had made tremendous progress in many sectors and there was no limit to doing more.
India had proposed a visit by Mukherjee to the mosque, a part of the Temple Mount compound that also houses a few of the most revered shrines of Judaism and Christianity, during his trip from October 13 to October 15, two senior officials independently confirmed to The Telegraph.
In a rare gesture reflecting the warmth of the ties enjoyed between the two countries, Mukherjee will also address a special session of the Knesset besides receiving an honourary doctorate from the prestigious Hebrew University.
He will also be meeting the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister.
India later clarified that the vote was a “principled” stand and did not show any change in its voting behavioural pattern, an explanation to which Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas “understood and accepted”.
“Indian democracy is a marvel and we must celebrate, preserve and promote its strengths”, he said.
India established diplomatic relations with Israel in 1992, and since then, the relationship has evolved into a multidimensional partnership spanning areas from agriculture to security.
Following his visit to Amman, the President will visit Ramallah where he will pay floral tributes at the mausoleum of the late Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat.
Earlier, Rajiv Gandhi had visited Jordan as Prime Minister in 1988.
The official was asked whether India would seek Jordan’s help in securing release of 39 Indians held captive by ISIS in Iraq’s Mosul town since June previous year. “We are so different, yet we are a combined force”.
The statement from Rivlin’s office said that Israel viewed the improving ties with India as “very important”, and was “delighted by the occasion of the first visit of an Indian president to Israel”.
India is keen to be seen as a friend of both Israel and Palestine and does not want to be seen as leaning towards either side.
The first leg takes him to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan at the invitation of King Abdullah-II Ibn Al Hussein, during which he is scheduled to deliver a speech at the University of Jordan and meet the Indian community, besides holding bilateral discussions with the leadership there.
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