This Article is From May 17, 2017

India Committed to Independent Palestine, PM Modi Tells President Abbas

Prime Minister Narendra Modi discusses bilateral issues with visiting Palestine President Mahmoud Abbas

India Committed to Independent Palestine, PM Modi Tells President Abbas

PM Modi with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas before their meeting at the Hyderabad House.(PTI Photo)

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi today met Palestine President Mahmoud Abbas and emphasized India's commitment ''to see the realization of a sovereign, independent, united and viable Palestine, co-existing peacefully with Israel".

The Prime Minster said he discussed a range of issues with President Abbas and exchanged views on the situation in West Asia and the Middle-East Peace Process. He also spoke of India's ''unwavering support" to the Palestinian cause''.

A day before the meet, President Abbas had said the middle-east is living in a state of instability and conflict, especially since the Arab Spring. "We know India has good relations with Israel and Palestine. So India can play a very important role in bringing peace between Israel and Palestine," he said.

"We agreed that the challenges in West Asia must be addressed through sustained political dialogue and peaceful means," PM Modi said. India, he added, hopes for early resumption of talks between Palestinian and Israeli sides.

There is also a continuous channel of communication that India wishes to keep open with Palestine through a joint commission set up by junior foreign minister MJ Akbar.

Indian policy towards both nations has undergone a slow shift since PM Modi came to power. His visit to Israel in July will be a first by an Indian Prime Minister. In 2014, Home Minister Rajnath Singh visited Israel but did not visit Palestine - which was seen as hinting at a move to de-link the two nations.

Recently India had also abstained from voting on the UN resolution against Israel at the UNHCR. India has also inched closer to Israel with links on counter-intelligence issues. Over the last several years, India has also moved closer to the US, seen as an ally of Israel.

The Palestinian president is on a four-day visit to India from May 14 to 17.  He given a ceremonial Guard of Honour at the Rashtrapati Bhavan, which was followed by a wreath laying ceremony at Mahatma Gandhi's memorial at Raj Ghat. President Mukherjee has hosted a banquet for him.