(MENAFN - The Journal Of Turkish Weekly)In a first for an Indian head of state India's president arrived in Palestine on Monday.
Indian President PranabMukherjee received a Guard of Honor upon his arrival at the Palestinian presidential palace where he is slated to meet Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Mukherjee has said that his two-day visit was aimed at reaffirminghis country's support for the Palestinian people support for whose independence had historically been a key part of India's foreign policy. Abbas and the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority have recently expressed concern overgrowing relations between India and Israel -- where Mukherjee will spend three days starting Tuesday -- especially in the defense sector. “India’s traditional support for the Palestinian cause remains steadfast while we maintain strong relations with Israel” Mukherjee said in Jordan on Sunday. Stressing India's support for a Palestinian state he quoted Indian independence icon Mahatma Gandhi saying: “Palestine belongs to the Arabs in the same sense that England belongs to the English and France to the French.” From India's independence in 1947 until it established full diplomatic relations with Israel in 1993 India had been a staunch supporter of Palestine actively calling for its independence at the UN. During his visit to Palestine Mukherjee is slated to meet leaders of Palestinian political parties address students at Al-Quds University and inaugurate a school named after Jawaharlal Nehru India’sfirst post-independence prime minister. Upon leaving Palestine he will next travel to Israel where he is slated to meet with the president and prime minister;sign agreements in the fields ofagriculture technology and education; and address the Knesset Israel's parliament.