New Delhi: India on Friday reiterated its support to the Palestinian cause and said it had started issuing visas from its office in Ramallah, Palestine.
Minister of State for External Affairs E Ahamed said India was perhaps the first country from South Asia to lunch a visa centre in Ramallah. This facility started in September.
He was speaking on the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with Palestinian People.
"With this, Palestinian nationals will be issued visas within two-three working days," he said.
"Indians have always placed Palestine close to their hearts," he said.
Ahamed said since the Indian representative office opened, New Delhi had extended technical and economic assistance to the Palestine National Authority for humanitarian relief, development work and education.
During Palestine President Mahmoud Abbas` visit last year, India pledged USD 10 million as budgetary support to the Palestinian authority.
India was also helping construct schools and setting up an IT centre and a vocational training centre in Palestine, Ahamed said.
India contributes annually USD 1 million to the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).
Alongwith Brazil and South Africa as partners, India is also implementing developmental projects in Palestine, he said at an event organised by the Indian Council of World Affairs (ICWA) here.
India will continue to support Palestine`s bid for full and equal membership of the UN, Ahamed said, adding that India welcomed the efforts by Palestine and Israel to resume direct peace talks.
Adli Hassan Shaban Sadeq, Palestine`s ambassador to India, said his country looked forward to a stronger role from the Non-Aligned Movement and BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) "with India in the forefront" in the Palestinian issue.
He said the situation in the occupied territories was "not viable for peace" as the gap between Palestine and Israel "was widening due to the blatant violation of international law by Israel".
Rajiv K Bhatia, the director general ICWA, said there was a "pressing need for crafting and promoting consensus within peoples, states, the region, and among the major international players who have a direct stake in West Asia".