International lobbying has intensified to get India on board for the session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on Thursday where the biggest platform of the UN is likely to adopt a resolution in opposition to U.S. President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel . The meeting of UNGA comes in the backdrop of a similar meeting of the Arab League which has asked for reversing of the decision even as Indian diplomats indicated that they will maintain that third parties do not decide Indian “foreign policy postures”.
“We have met with Minister of State for External Affairs M.J. Akbar ten days ago to discuss the US decision and the Indian position in support of the Palestinian case and the peace process,” said a senior Arab diplomat indicating that a diplomatic team representing Arab concerns on Jerusalem held consultation with the officials of the Ministry of External Affairs on Wednesday. However, there was no indication from the MEA if India would support either party.
“Third parties don’t decide our foreign policy postures. For us this is all par for the course,” said a senior Indian official in response to a question on whether India will vote with the Arab countries or support President Trump’s decision.
The draft resolution on the status of Jerusalem to be presented on Thursday expresses deep “regret” on the US’ stated position on Jerusalem and calls for “the final status of Jerusalem to be resolved through negotiations.” A similar resolution was vetoed by the US at the UN Security Council although the US found itself isolated with all other members voting in favour.
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Using a sharp tone in a tweet after the UNSC vote, U.S. ambassador Nikki Haley indicated that the US will watch the individual votes in the UNGA closely.
“At the UN, we’re always asked to do more & give more. So, when we make a decision, at the will of the American people, about where to locate our embassy, we don’t expect those we’ve helped to target us. On Thursday there will be a vote criticising our choice. The US will be taking names,” Ms. Haley said.
Follow: The U.N. General Assembly vote on status of Jerusalem
India had earlier issued a cautious statement only reaffirming its previous position. “India's position on Palestine is independent and consistent. It is shaped by our views and interests, and not determined by any third country,” the official spokesperson Raveesh Kumar had said on December 7 after the declaration of the US President which drew swift condemnation from across the Arab world.
Soon after President Trump’s declaration on Jerusalem, the Arab League had reached out to India even as it condemned the decision and urged President Trump to reverse the decision.
Academic Prof P.R. Kumaraswamy, an expert on Israeli politics in JNU said that India should stay away from the voting to show its opposition to the “exclusivist” approach by both the Palestinian and the Israeli sides.
“US declaration on Jerusalem can not become our problem. We have to point out that Jerusalem belongs to all its claimants and the claimants need to be reminded that they have repeatedly come up with exclusivist claims,” said Prof. Kumaraswamy.
“India should not even abstain. Our representatives to the UN General Assembly should stay absent during the voting which will express our position effectively,” he said.