India on Monday underlined its solidarity for the Palestinians, reeling under a West-led economic blockade, and readied the first batch of medicines to be sent to West Bank and Gaza.
Minister of State for External Affairs E Ahamed symbolically handed over a carton of the medicines to Osama Musa, ambassador of the Palestinian National Authority in New Delhi on Monday morning.
The first batch of medicines, comprising life saving cancer drugs and anaesthetics, are ready for immediate shipment and will be handed over to President Mahmoud Abbas by India's representative in Palestine, a press release by the External Affairs Ministry said.
Concerned over economic hardships faced by the Palestinians due to cuts in international aid, India had announced humanitarian assistance, primarily of medicines estimated to be over $2 million, on May 13.
The US, Israel and the European Union decided to freeze aid to Palestine after the election of a new government led by Hamas, whom the West regards as a terrorist force that has yet to renounce terror and accept Israel's right to exist.
The international aid cut has brought many Palestinians close to dire poverty and starvation.
India decided to give "humanitarian assistance" over two months ago "in keeping with its traditional and consistent policy of extending sympathy and support to the people of Palestine".