India has abandoned “the dogmas of Delhi” in favour of “pragmatic settlement,” putting into practice the exhortations made by External Affairs Minister Jaishankar in his book The India Way.
Jitendra Nath Misra, former ambassador and Distinguished Fellow at the Jindal School of International Affairs, O.P. Jindal Global University, Sonipat, Haryana, India.
India has not declared Hamas a terrorist organisation, possibly considering that even Israel has in the past bolstered Hamas to counter the Palestinian Authority.
Does India’s stand on the Gaza conflict mark a change in policy? In 1974 India was the first non-Arab state to recognise the Palestinian Liberation Organisation as the “sole and legitimate representative of the Palestinian people.” India was one of the first states without a Muslim majority and the first non-Arab state to recognise the state of Palestine in 1988. In 2017, India voted in the UN against President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Earlier, India had voted against the original 1947 UN resolution establishing Israel.
Such resolute constancy in policy has changed. Immediately after the September 7 Hamas attack “we stand in solidarity with Israel at this difficult hour,” Prime Minister Modi tweeted on X, without offering words of comfort to the Palestinians. In October India abstained on a UN General Assembly resolution calling for a “humanitarian pause” on violence, even as 121 states voted in favour. At some point India had to recognise the unfolding humanitarian catastrophe, as it indeed did, by despatching humanitarian aid for Palestine, reiterating support for a two-state solution, and supporting a UN resolution asking for a pause in the fighting to deal with the humanitarian crisis.
Was this a return to India’s pro-Palestine stand? The answer is no. Important as humanitarian considerations are, the tilt towards Israel stands stable. If India no longer pursues a pro-Palestine policy, there must have been an audit. Thus, India has abandoned “the dogmas of Delhi” in favour of “pragmatic settlement,” putting into practice the exhortations made by External Affairs Minister Jaishankar in his book The India Way. Tilting towards Israel is bad but tilting towards the Palestinians is worse, runs the thinking.
Published in: Moneycontrol
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