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'I visited Palestine on Jordan's chopper and Israeli jets escorted my trip': PM Modi at India TV event

During India TV's highly anticipated event, Prime Minister Narendra Modi criticised the frameworks used to define "secularism" in India, particularly in the formulation of foreign policies during the Congress-led UPA government while visiting Israel and Palestine.

Written By: Ajeet Kumar @Ajeet1994 New Delhi Updated on: May 24, 2024 1:50 IST
PM Narendra Modi during an interview with India TV's Rajat Sharma
Image Source : INDIA TV PM Narendra Modi during an interview with India TV's Rajat Sharma

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during the much-awaited event of India TV on Thursday, denounced the theories framed to define "secularism" in India while deciding the foreign policies during the Congress-led UPA government. PM Modi in an exclusive interview with India TV's Chairman and Editor-in-Chief Rajat Sharma at Bharat Mandapam, New Delhi, recalled his earlier days in the Prime Minister's Office when the bureaucrats and other leaders advised him to visit Israel and Palestine simultaneously in order to keep a balanced approach in the "secular foreign policy". He recalled an instance when he visited Palestine on Jordan's chopper and the Israeli Air Force escorted his entire trip to reach Ramallah.

According to PM Modi, the officials were worried that if he visited Israel abandoning Palestine, it might disseminate a bad impression on both neighbouring turned rival nations. "In my earlier days of Prime Ministership, people advised me to visit Israel and Palestine simultaneously in order to keep a balanced approach in foreign policy," he said while recalling how people made him acquaintance of India's "so-called secular policy" towards Jews and Muslim-dominated Palestine state.

When PM Modi visited Israel without visiting Palestine

PM Modi, during the mega interview, said he had refuted the ideas presented before him and told them he would not visit the two states at once. It is worth recalling PM Modi visited Jerusalem in 2017 and became the first Indian prime minister to visit Israel. At that time, he had not travelled to Ramallah or met Palestinian leaders, as visiting dignitaries often do during the Congress regime. The visit was seen as a turning point in India's position on Israel.

India Tv - Narendra Modi becomes first Indian PM to visit Israel

Image Source : REUTERS/FILE PM Modi's visit to Israel in 2018

On his single trip to Israel, Prime Minister Modi received an exceptional level of hospitality from the government led by Benjamin Netanyahu. Breaking from standard protocol, Netanyahu personally accompanied Modi for the majority of his visit, a gesture typically reserved for esteemed guests like the US president. Furthermore, PM Modi, in his latest interview, also recalled his visit to Palestine. The BJP leader shared how he rode into Palestine's Ramallah in 2018. 

When Israel's Air Force escorted PM Modi's chopper to Palestine

In a departure from the norm, Prime Minister Modi opted for a direct route to Ramallah via helicopter provided by the Jordanian government, with escorts provided by the Israel Air Force, unlike previous Indian leaders who typically accessed Ramallah via Israel.

"When I was visiting Palestine via Jordan, Majesty King Abdullah II bin Al-Hussein had called me and said he would be providing his helicopter to reach Ramallah. Interestingly, at least six fighter jets of the Israel Air Force had escorted by choppers," PM Modi said. 

In an uncommon video posted by the then Foreign Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar, the Prime Minister's helicopter was depicted en route to Ramallah with its escort. Kumar, in a social media post, called it "history in the making".

Israeli authorities control all entrance and exit points to the West Bank including its 150 km border with Jordan and the air space above. It is worth mentioning that Israeli authorities oversee all entry and exit points to the West Bank, which includes its 150 km border with Jordan and the airspace above it.

He also recalled earlier how dignitaries visited South Korea and Japan simultaneously. PM Modi said even the two nations did not like an Indian leader visiting both states at once. 

Also Read: 'Pakistan ki taakat ko mai khud check karke aaya hu': PM Modi tells Rajat Sharma in season's biggest interview

 

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