India pledges USD 10 mn to UNRWA for next two years, to send medical shipment to Palestine

New Delhi [India], June 24 (ANI): India on Tuesday pledged USD 10 million to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) and said that New Delhi will donate life-saving drugs to Palestine to help them in combatting the COVID-19 pandemic.

The announcement was made by Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan during a virtual ministerial pledging conference for UNRWA.

"Underlining its strong support to the Palestinian cause, India pledged an additional USD 10 million to UNRWA for next 2 years, over and above USD 5 million contribution announced for this year, at the virtual Ministerial Pledging Conference today," the minister said in a tweet.

"India is a major development partner of Palestine. Apart from funding people-centric development projects worth USD 72 million, India will also donate life-saving drugs to Palestine to help them in their fight against COVID-19," read another tweet from Muraleedharan.

The minister, according to a statement by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), said that the COVID-19 pandemic continues to wreck havoc across the globe, stretching governments' resources to address healthcare and socio-economic needs of their own people, and constraining capacities to assist others.

"But the victory over this unprecedented crisis demands collective and concerted action. Therefore, despite a surge in domestic demand for medical supplies amidst rising COVID-19 cases, we are assisting countries in need of critical and life-saving drugs. We are sending a medical shipment to Palestine next week," Muraleedharan said.

He stressed that capacity enhancement through training and building durable institutions is a major plank of India's developmental assistance to Palestine.

"We are working with them to organise more and more training programmes on virtual platforms till resumption of normal travel, and remain committed to timely disbursement of funds for the developmental projects so that they continue on schedule. We provide 250 annual scholarships to Palestinian youth and officials, apart from regular customised training programmes and our current project grant is around USD 72 million," Muraleedharan said.

"As colleagues before me have flagged, sustainability and predictability of funding are imperative for any agency or organisation to carry on its mandate without interruption. UNRWA needs our continued support. When certain countries withdrew funding, we had stepped up our annual pledge from USD 1.25 million to USD 5 million in 2018. For this year, we have already disbursed USD 2 million and will soon be remitting the balance USD 3 million. I am pleased to announce that we will contribute another USD 10 million to UNRWA over the coming two years," he further said. (ANI)