India hails UAE-Israel pact, reiterates Palestine cause

S. Jaishankar

S. Jaishankar  

India on Friday welcomed the normalisation of ties between Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), calling them both “key strategic partners”.

External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar received a call from UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan to explain the decision to establish full ties with Israel, becoming the first Gulf country, and the third Arab country, after Egypt and Jordan, to do so.

The trilateral agreement called the “Abraham Accords”, signed along with the U.S. on Thursday, also commits Israel to suspend its plans for annexation of Palestine majority areas.

“India has consistently supported peace, stability and development in West Asia, which is its extended neighbourhood. In that context, we welcome the full normalisation of ties between UAE and Israel,” said MEA spokesperson Anurag Srivastava, briefing journalists on Friday.

Mr. Jaishankar tweeted that he “deeply appreciated” the call from the UAE Minister, and said they “discussed the full normalisation of relations between UAE and Israel.”

While the announcement of the agreement has been welcomed by India, it will also mean continuing to walk a balance on West Asian politics. According to experts, the normalisation of ties between Israel and the UAE could be followed by similar actions by other Gulf countries, including the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and strong reactions from other countries in a region India has deep stakes in terms of energy supplies and expatriate populations. New Delhi will also need to watch ties with Iran, which has slammed the agreement and will see Arab-Israeli tie-ups as a direct threat to its security.

Call for talks

Officials said New Delhi would also continue to push for a two-state solution as part of a negotiated settlement between Israel and Palestine. Reaffirming its “traditional support” for the Palestinian cause, the MEA on Friday called for the early resumption of talks for a “two state” solution.

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas has rejected the agreement, calling it “betrayal”.

Former Ambassador to Israel and the U.S., Navtej Sarna, said the agreement was a “good development” for India, given its strong ties with both countries.

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