Arafat seeks Indian aid

RAMALLAH, MAY 7 The Palestinian leader, Mr. Yasser Arafat, has lauded India's political support to the Palestinian cause and sought New Delhi's cooperation in the fields of infrastructure and technology. Mr. Arafat also said that commerce and economic relations between the two countries should match political ties, the Indian Minister of State for Commerce and Industry, Mr. Raman Singh, who called on him here yesterday, told PTI.

The Minister said New Delhi would further deepen economic and commercial interaction with the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) and it was ``supportive of the legitimate right of the Palestinians for a homeland''.

India has already recognised the State of Palestine since 1988, based on the declaration of Independence issued by the Palestinian National Council in Algiers.

Mr Singh, who was here to inaugurate the first-ever Indian trade fair, also met the PNA Trade Minister, Mr. Maher Al Masri, and both the leaders agreed to the need of encouraging joint Indo- Palestinian ventures.

The total annual trade between India and PNA is estimated at 18 to $ 20 million which primarily consists of one-way Indian exports.

Israel offers help

TEL AVIV, MAY 7. Appreciating India's scientific, technological and industrial progress, Israel has offered cooperation in high- tech, communication and other sectors to further strengthen bilateral ties between the two countries.

``Israel has achieved tremendous success in high-tech and communication areas which is standing in the first row among world leaders in the field and I would like to extend cooperation in high and communication business with India,'' the Israeli Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Communication, Mr. Benjamin Ben Elizer said.

Praising India's advancement in various sectors, showcased in the ongoing first-ever India Trade Fair here, he said the exhibition demonstrated India's progress.