India has always been at forefront in promoting Palestinian cause: Pranab Mukherjee

President Pranab Mukherjee, who was on Tuesday conferred with the honorary doctorate by Al-Quds University at a ceremony held in Ramallah, said India's solidarity with the Palestinian people and its principled support to the Palestinian cause is rooted in our own freedom struggle.

ANI| Updated: Oct 13, 2015, 19:31 PM IST

New Delhi: President Pranab Mukherjee, who was on Tuesday conferred with the honorary doctorate by Al-Quds University at a ceremony held in Ramallah, said India's solidarity with the Palestinian people and its principled support to the Palestinian cause is rooted in our own freedom struggle.

"India has always been at the forefront in promoting the Palestinian cause - India voted against the partition of Palestine at the United Nations General Assembly in 1947. We recognized the PLO as the sole and legitimate representative of the Palestinian people in 1974; India was the first non-Arab country to recognize the State of Palestine in 1988," President Mukherjee said.

"We spearheaded the campaign for recognition of Palestinian statehood by the UN in 2012. India supported the successful resolution for flying the Palestinian flag at the UN Headquarters last month," he added.

President Mukherjee said India had co-sponsored a draft resolution on 'the right of Palestinians to self-determination' during the 53rd session of the UN General Assembly.

"India then voted in favour of UN General Assembly Resolution in October 2003 against construction of the separation wall by Israel and supported subsequent resolutions of the UNGA in this regard. India voted in favour of accepting Palestine as a full member of UNESCO," he added.

President Mukherjee further said the strong foundations and India-Palestine's shared belief in peace, prosperity and development for the people of Palestine propel India to do more.

"One of the aims of his visit to Palestine is to suggest a framework for the future of relationship between India and Palestine," President Mukherjee said.

"While India continues to follow its traditional policy on Palestine, it sees that the framework of partnership can be reinforced through three principal pillars - closer political interaction; deeper economic engagement and academic collaboration and wider cultural contacts and people-to-people exchanges," he added.

On the occasion, President Mukherjee announced the setting up of an India-Chair in the Al Quds University.

"India has always been happy to partner Palestine in promoting education. Over the years, around 12,000 Palestinian students have graduated from Indian Universities, many of them on scholarships offered by the Government of India. Today, these students serve as a bridge between our two countries," he said.