NEW DELHI : Making it clear that it was unwavering in its support on the Palestine issue, India on Tuesday strongly backed a political solution to the problem through sustained dialogue and expressed the hope for an early resumption of talks between Palestine and Israel.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi reaffirmed India’s stand after a meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who had on Monday sought India’s help to solve the Palestine issue with Israel.
After the talks, India and Palestine signed five agreements including on cooperation in agriculture, IT and electronics, health and youth affairs and sports.
“We had extensive exchange of views on the situation in West Asia and the Middle East peace process,” he said while jointly addressing the media with Abbas following delegation-level talks here.
“We agreed that the challenges in West Asia must be addressed through sustained political dialogue and peaceful means,” he said.
“India hopes for early resumption of talks between Palestinian and Israeli sides to move towards finding a comprehensive resolution.”
On Monday, addressing a gathering at the India Islamic Cultural Centre here, Abbas said that he would seek the help of Modi’s good offices in reaching a solution to the Palestinian issue which would help in the fight against terrorism in that part of the world.
Modi said on Tuesday that India has been “unwavering in its support of the Palestinian cause”.
“And, we hope to see the realisation of a sovereign, independent, united and viable Palestine, co-existing peacefully with Israel,” he said, ahead of his visit to Israel scheduled for July this year.
He also said that India would continue to extend cooperation in building infrastructure in Palestine and contribute to improving the lives of its people.
“We will continue to support the development and capacity-building efforts of Palestine,” he said.
The Prime Minister said the five agreements signed following Tuesday’s talks “are reaffirmation of our intent to strengthen cooperation in this direction”.
Modi also referred to a flagship techno-park project India was undertaking in Ramallah and said particular emphasis was being laid on the areas of information technology, youth and skills development.
He also called for enhancing cultural exchanges between the two sides and sought the participation of the Palestinian people in the International Yoga Day to be observed next month.
On his part, Abbas expressed his appreciation for India’s continued support and solidarity for the Palestinian cause on international forums and said he would work to deepen the bilateral relationship.
He said he updated Modi on his meeting with US President Donald Trump regarding the Middle East peace process and his talks with his German and Russian counterparts Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Vladimir Putin, respectively, on the issue.
Abbas also condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and voiced support for all regional and international efforts to fight this menace.
Earlier in the day, Abbas was accorded a ceremonial welcome at Rashtrapati Bhavan here following which he paid tribute to Mahatma Gandhi at Rajghat.
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj called on the visiting dignitary and discussed issues of bilateral interest.
Abbas arrived here on Sunday on a four-day visit to India. This is his fifth visit to India and the third state visit after his visits in 2008 and 2012.
He is being accompanied by a delegation comprising Palestinian Deputy Prime Minister Ziad Abu Amr, Foreign Minister Riad Malki, Diplomatic Advisor Majdi Khaldi, Presidency Spokesperson Nabil Aburdeineh and Palestine’s Chief Judge Mahmoud Habbash.
(With Inputs from IANS)