Riyadh: The Indian Prime Minister told members of the Saudi Shura Council on Monday that an independent Palestinian state was the key to stability in the Middle East and called on nuclear neighbour Pakistan to "act decisively" against terrorism.

"There is no issue more important for peace and stability in the region than the question of Palestine," Manmohan Singh told the council, the kingdom's appointed consultative body, in Riyadh.

"For far too long the brave people of Palestine have been denied their just, legitimate and inalienable rights, including most of all the establishment of a sovereign, independent and viable Palestinian state," he said.

Ties with pakistan

Singh, on the third and final day of a state visit to Saudi Arabia, also said that India's cordial relations with Pakistan hinged on its actions against terrorism.

"Our objective is a permanent peace [with Pakistan] because we recognise that we are bound together by a shared future," he said. "But to realise this vision, Pakistan must act decisively against terrorism. If Pakistan cooperates with India, there is no problem that we cannot solve," Singh said.

A bilateral cooperation agreement which Singh signed with King Abdullah after talks late on Sunday also emphasised the need for an independent Palestinian state. In the agreement the two leaders Cstressed that Israel's continued building of [colonies] is a major obstacle to the peace process".