Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is heading to the Palestinian territories and the Gulf countries on Friday to bolster long-standing political and economic ties.
India was one of the earliest champions of the Palestinian cause but in recent years turned to Israel for high-tech military equipment and anti-terrorism cooperation.
Modi made the first trip to Israel by an Indian prime minister last year followed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's visit to India last month.
But Indian officials said India continued to support the Palestinian cause and that Modi's visit is aimed at helping build up the Palestinians' capacity in the health, information technology and education areas.
“We have de-hyphenated our relations with Palestine and Israel and now we see them both as mutually independent and exclusive and as part of this policy the prime minister is undertaking this visit,” B. Bala Bhaskar, a joint secretary in the Indian foreign ministry, said.
PM Modi, Jordan king discuss Israeli-Palestinian conflict
Looking forward to my discussions with President Mahmoud Abbas and reaffirming our support for the Palestinian people and the development of Palestine. https://t.co/Kq3smWsJp9— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) February 8, 2018