In what could amount to a tectonic shift in the country’s foreign policy, the Modi government is looking at altering India’s supporting vote for the Palestinian cause at the United Nations to one of abstention.
Two sources within the government confirmed to The Hindu that the change, which will be a fundamental departure from India’s support to the cause of a Palestinian state, was under consideration.
“Like other foreign policy issues, the Modi government is looking at India’s voting record at the United Nations on the Palestinian issue,” a government source told The Hindu. The change only needs an administrative nod, the second source said.
Despite the growing defence and diplomatic ties with Israel, the UPA government, which junked traditional ally Iran to vote with the United States at the International Atomic Energy Agency in 2005, had baulked at making any change in India’s support to the Palestinians.
Even former Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee’s government, which invited Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to India in 2003, did not amend India’s voting record at the U.N.
India’s stance at the U.N. has been an irritant in Indo-Israeli relations, with Tel Aviv frustrated that close bonds had not resulted in any change in the stance on Palestine.
A senior Israeli interlocutor told a visiting Indian External Affairs Minister some time ago that New Delhi treated Tel Aviv like a “mistress” – by keeping the bilateral relationship away from the public gaze. This re-examination of India’s voting stance will come as sweet music to Israeli ears just as it will raise concerns in West Asian capitals about the future course of Indian foreign policy.