The Palestinian Government and India on Tuesday discussed the stalled Middle East peace process even as the two sides signed pacts to boost bilateral ties.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas held delegation-level talks with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi.

The two leaders discussed the situation in the Middle East and the peace process between the Israelis and the Palestinians, which Modi said “must be addressed through sustained political dialogue and peaceful means”.

“India hopes for early resumption of talks between Palestinian and Israeli sides to move toward finding a comprehensive resolution,” Modi said alongside Abbas.

Five agreements covering agricultural cooperation, information technology and electronics, health and youth affairs and sports were signed after the talks.

Abbas’ visit is a diplomatic balancing act for India.

Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party has been pushing for stronger ties with Israel, which could have a bearing on New Delhi’s relations with the Palestinian Territories, Indian media and commentators have said.

In July, Modi will be the first Indian prime minister to visit Israel.

Modi stressed that India had been “unwavering in its support of the Palestinian cause.”

“We hope to see the realisation of a sovereign, independent, united and viable Palestine, co-existing peacefully with Israel,” he said.

India, which has traditional ties with the Arab world and has supported the Palestinian cause for decades, established diplomatic relations with Israel in 1992.

Bilateral ties have significantly warmed over the past decades, with Israel emerging as the leading defence supplier to India.


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