New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday assured Palestine President Mahmoud Abbas of India's "unwavering support" to the Palestinian cause, saying it hopes to see a sovereign, united and an independent Palestine, co-existing peacefully with Israel.
Modi, who is scheduled to travel to Israel in July, also hoped for early resumption of talks between Palestinian and Israeli sides to move towards finding a comprehensive resolution. After extensive and wide-ranging talks between Modi and Abbas, the two sides signed five agreements.
Addressing a joint press event with Abbas, the prime minister said, "We hope to see the realisation of a sovereign, independent, united and viable Palestine, co-existing peacefully with Israel. I have reaffirmed our position on this to President Abbas during our conversation today." Modi also added that "India has been unwavering in supporting the Palestinian cause. India hopes for early resumption of talks between Palestinian and Israeli side to move towards finding a comprehensive resolution."
Modi's remarks come ahead of his scheduled visit to Israel and assume significance in the backdrop of growing proximity between the two countries. Modi will be the first Indian Prime Minister to visit Israel. On his part, Abbas said Palestine appreciates the solidarity India extends to its cause. "India is a friend. It has influence at the international level. India can play an important role (in the resolving Palestine Israel crisis," Abbas said.
He also said that he recently had meetings with U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin and discussed possibilities of an early resolution to the long-pending dispute with a two-state solution. Modi also noted that he and the visiting dignitary had an extensive exchange of views on West Asia and the Middle East peace process and said the challenges in West Asia should be addressed through sustained political dialogue and peaceful means.
The Palestine President also condemned terrorism in all forms. The two sides signed agreements for visa exemptions for diplomatic passport holders, in the fields of agriculture cooperation, IT and electronics, health sector and cooperation in the field of youth affairs and sports.
"At the bilateral level, India is committed to be a useful development partner of Palestine. We would continue to support development and capacity of the Palestine. The agreements concluded today are reaffirmation of our intent to strengthen cooperation in this direction," Modi said.
Referring to the technopark jointly built by India and Palestine in Ramallah, he said it will a one-stop solution to IT-related services in Palestine. In October 2015, India has announced grant of $12 million for setting up the park with payment of $3 million each on half-yearly basis for 2 years. The Palestinian side has made the land available for the project.
Abbas said India is "ahead of all friendly countries" in helping Palestine. Modi said the India is looking froward to enhance cultural exchanges by adding new elements including yoga. "I have reaffirmed our coalition on this to President Abbas during our conversation today. "President Abbas and I concluded useful and detailed discussion that will add further strength in partnership," he said.