EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: During Indian PM Narendra Modi’s visit to Israel in July 2017, India finally ended its long practice that dignitaries who visit Israel must also travel to the Palestinian-controlled territories. On February 10, 2018, he conducted a landmark visit to Ramallah, the first such visit by an Indian PM – and did not visit Israel. This “de-hyphenation” of Israel-Palestine reflects Modi’s pragmatic and sensible approach to relations with the two entities.
Last Saturday, Narendra Modi achieved the distinction of becoming the first Indian PM to visit the Palestinian de facto West Bank capital, Ramallah. During his discussions with top Palestinian leaders during the visit, Modi called Yasser Arafat a “friend of the Indian people.”
The relationship between India and the Palestinians stems from a deep-rooted ideological association dating back to New Delhi’s vote against the UN partition resolution. However, the speed with which the Modi government has been working to boost India’s ties with Israel has given rise to fears that it might abandon its historical support for the Palestinian cause.