PM Modi conferred Grand Collar of State of Palestine

Ramallah, Feb 10: In recognition of his contribution to ties with Palestine, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was conferred The Grand Collar of the State of Palestine, the highest Palestinian honour for foreign dignitaries, by Palestine President Mahmoud Abbas here on Saturday.

"In a special recognition of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's contribution to relations between India and Palestine, President Abbas conferred the Grand Collar of the State of Palestine on him after the conclusion of their bilateral meeting," the Prime Minister's office tweeted.

It added that the honour is reserved for foreign dignitaries like kings, heads of state or government and persons of similar rank.

"In recognition of his wise leadership and his lofty national and international stature, and in appreciation of his efforts to promote the historic relations between between the State of Palestine and the Republic of India," the award commendation reads.

"In acknowledgment of his support to our people's right independence and freedom so that peace prevails in our region."

Earlier in the day, Modi was presented a guard of honour at the Presidential Palace soon after his arrival here from Amman, Jordan, in what is the first ever prime ministerial visit from India to Palestine.

He also laid a wreath at the mausoleum of Yasser Arafat, the Chairman of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation and the first President of the Palestinian Authority. 

A number of agreements are expected to be signed following Saturday's bilateral meeting.

This was the fourth meeting between Modi and Abbas after those on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in 2015, at the Paris climate summit later that year and during the Palestinian President's visit to India last year.

The visit will reaffirm India's foreign policy position that its relationship with one country is independent of its ties with a third country and will de-hyphenate Israel and Palestine after Modi's standalone visit to Israel in July last year.

Palestine is the first leg of Modi's three-nation tour of West Asia that will also see him going to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Oman.