- PM’s visit to Palestine visit signals India’s strategy to grow ties with Israel and Palestine separately.
- It underlines the delicate balance New Delhi has adopted in this long-standing and seemingly intractable conflict.
India’s growing ties with Israel:
- India, which has been a champion of the Palestinian people’s national aspirations, has built strong ties with Israel in recent years.
- Israel is a vital source of defense equipment and agricultural technology for India.
- Last year India voted along with a vast majority of member-states at the UN General Assembly against U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
- PM reiterated India’s support for the Palestinian cause during his recent visit.
- Both sides also signed a number of agreements for India-funded projects in the West Bank.
Full-fledged ties with Israel:
- Israel faces political isolation internationally over its occupation of the Palestinian territories.
- Isreal does not have diplomatic ties with most countries in West Asia.
- India, which has vital interests in the Gulf and enjoys good ties with the region’s Muslim countries, cannot afford to be seen to be politically closer to Israel at the expense of ties with Palestinians.
- India has supported the creation of an independent Palestine within the 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital.
- According to this line, Israel would have to withdraw from the West Bank and East Jerusalem and either pull out the Jewish settlements or do a land-swap with the Palestinians as part of a final agreement.
- India’s support for the two-state solution remains, but it has now stopped short of the specifics related to borders.
- India’s policy objective is clear and rooted in political realism.
- It wants to maintain the balance in its relationship with both Palestine and Israel, and strengthen bilateral ties with each separately.
- Now, it must be tried that when Palestine is working to establish an international multilateral mechanism of negotiations, India’s outreach to Palestine can go a long way to achieve the peace process. It is high time that the Indian government strengthens its historical ties with the Palestinian leadership in conjunction with its long-standing role as peacemaker in the region’s conflicts.