India on Tuesday contributed USD 5 million to the UN Palestine refugee agency and called for ensuring sustained fiscal support for the organisation's work. The cheque for the amount was handed over to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) for Palestinian Refugees by Representative of India (ROI) in Palestine, Sunil Kumar, at the agency's headquarters in Jerusalem.
India increased its annual financial assistance to the UNRWA by four fold, from USD 1.25 million to USD 5 million, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Palestine in February 2018, the first ever visit by an Indian Premier to Ramallah.
The hike in New Delhi's contribution comes at a time when the agency is facing a difficult financial situation due to decrease in voluntary contributions from a limited donor base and is seeking financial support for its work.
"India made a strong appeal to other traditional donors of the UNRWA to consider enhancing their contributions as well as to non-donor member states to consider contributing to the UNRWA in solidarity with the Palestine refugees," a statement issued by the Indian mission in Ramallah said.
Expressing his appreciation for the commendable work carried out by the agency, Kumar underlined, "India's steadfast support for its activities in the region in providing assistance to about 5.4 million Palestine refugees in helping them achieve their full human development potential".
The UNRWA has been providing health, education, relief and social services, as well as emergency humanitarian assistance, across its five areas of operations in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank, and the Gaza Strip since 1950.
Separately, as part of the government of India's ongoing assistance programmes in Palestine to strengthen capacity-building efforts focused on institutions, services and training personnel, New Delhi is providing 150 places for Palestinian professionals every year at Indian institutes under the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) programme.
This is in addition to 100 educational scholarships given to Palestinian students to study at the level of graduate, postgraduate and doctoral programmes.
India is also funding eight developmental projects worth USD 59 million, which include building a 215-bed super-speciality hospital in Bethlehem.
The ongoing projects are a part of the India-Palestine development partnership announced during Modi's visit to Palestine.