New York: Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has written a letter to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas assuring him of India's "full support" for his country's bid for statehood at the UN.
     
"India has always supported the Palestinian people in their pursuit of legitimate goals and for development with dignity and self reliance. I assure you of India's full support in the United Nations," Singh wrote in the letter to Abbas.

India's Permanent Representative to the UN Hardeep Singh Puri read out the one-page letter at a briefing with Indian reporters here.
     
The letter, written on Tuesday, was in response to an August 21 communication by Abbas to the Prime Minister "regarding the initiative to seek full membership for Palestine in the UN."
     
"India's relations with Palestine are historic and firmly rooted in our national ethos. India has been unwavering in its support for the Palestinian people's struggle for a sovereign, independent, viable and united state of Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital, living within secure and recognisable borders side by side and at peace with Israel" as endorsed in the Arab peace initiative quartet road map and the relevant UN Security Council resolution, Singh said in the letter.
     
Puri rubbished claims that India would not extend support to Palestine, saying India was the first non-Arab country to recognise the Palestinian aspiration for statehood.
   
Abbas, who is in the city for the 66th session of the UN General Assembly, today conveyed to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon that he will submit to him on Friday an application for Palestinian membership in the UN.

Abbas said he would submit the bid after he addresses the 193-member UN General Assembly at the general debate.

Puri noted that India's support to Palestine "has nothing to do with" New Delhi's relations with the US or Israel, which are on a "stand-alone basis".
     
"Our commitment to the Palestinian cause is completely independent," Puri said adding that India's foreign policy is such that its relations with one country do not influence those with others.
     
He added that if Palestine becomes a UN member, it would also commit itself to the goal of direct negotiations.
     
It is expected that Palestine will approach the General Assembly with its application and not go to the Security Council, where its bid would most likely be vetoed, especially by the US.
     
The Palestinians are asking for their status in the world body be elevated to observer state from the current observer entity.

(Agencies)