According to Indian Express, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday assured Palestine President Mahmoud Abbas of India’s “unwavering support” to the Palestinian cause, saying it hoped to see a sovereign, united and an independent Palestine, coexisting peacefully with Israel. Abbas said Palestine appreciated the solidarity India extends to its cause. Modi, who is expected to travel to Israel on July 5 and 6, also hoped for early resumption of talks between Palestinian and Israeli sides to move towards finding a comprehensive resolution.

After the bilateral meeting with Abbas, the Prime Minister said, “We hope to see the realisation of a sovereign, independent, united and viable Palestine, coexisting peacefully with Israel. I have reaffirmed our position on this to President Abbas during our conversation today.” He added, “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, ahead of his scheduled visit to the Jewish state, assume significance in the backdrop of growing proximity between India and Israel. Modi will be the first Indian Prime Minister to visit Israel. Abbas said, “India is a friend. It has influence at the international level. India can play an important role (in resolving the Palestine-Israel issue).”

He said that he recently had meetings with US 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. The Palestine President also condemned terrorism in all forms.

The two sides signed agreements for visa exemption 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.

Referring to the technopark jointly built by India and Palestine in Ramallah, Modi said it would be a one-stop solution for IT-related services in that country. In October 2015, India announced grant of $12 million for setting up the park with payment of $3 million each on half-yearly basis for two years. The Palestinian side has made the land available for the project. Modi said India was looking forward to enhancing 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.