Indian PM Starts Four-Day Visit To Middle East

Last update: 09/02/2018

NEW DELHI, Feb 9 (Bernama) -- Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday began a visit to the Middle East during which he will hold talks with officials of Oman and United Arab Emirates (UAE), with the aim to boost economic ties.

"I look forward to strengthening India's growing and important ties with the Middle East and the gulf region with the visit," Modi said in a statement before his departure from New Delhi.

Modi starts his four-day visit from Palestine on Saturday after transiting through Jordan.

The Indian government tries to maintain a semblance of balance in its dealings with the Arab world and Israel due to India's strong tries with Palestine and its vital economic interests in the gulf region.

"I am looking forward to my discussions with President Mahmoud Abbas and reaffirming our support for the Palestinian people and the development of Palestine," Modi said.

The Indian prime minister will travel to the UAE from Palestine and meet top officials in the UAE, which hosts one-third of the nine million Indian migrant workers in the gulf region.

India considers Oman "a close maritime neighbour" and sees it as a strategic country for its wider Indian Ocean regional policy.

Modi will discuss bilateral relations with the Omani leadership, meet top business people, and interact with the Indian community during his two-day Oman visit starting on Sunday.