India supports UNHRC vote on Gaza: Why this sudden bonhomie with Palestine?

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Narendra modi
India's dithering stand on foreign relation once again came to the fore on Tuesday when it voted in favour of United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) resolution to launch a probe into Israel's offensive attack on Gaza. This flip-flop of stand gets its credence from recent events. Only a day before this tough stand, Indian Government had blocked resolution against Israel in Parliament amid high uproar. Earlier this month, India along with BRICS partners had voted for censuring Israel on this conflicting issue.

India voted against partition of Palestine in United Nations General Assembly

This new found assertion has taken place in the backdrop of bloodbath in the Gaza Strip where because of Israel and Palestine's ‘not relenting' attitude, over 680 Palestinians and 31 Israelis have died during the 16-day conflict. Including India, Russia, China and South Africa, 24 other countries have also voted in support of the resolution, while 17 nations abstained from it in the 46-member council. Only country who voted against the resolution is United States while all European countries abstained it.

Earlier, Government had given clear indication that India believes in maintaining equidistant relation from both the country in question.

"We remain hopeful that a sustainable ceasefire will be reached between the two sides, linked to the resumption of the peace process, for a comprehensive resolution of the Palestinian issue," said Asoke Mukerji, who is India's Permanent Representative to the UN.

India supported Palestine in past

In past, India had supported Palestine and its cause wholeheartedly. India voted against partition of Palestine in United Nations General Assembly in 1947. Similarly, in 1974, India was the only one, apart from Arab countries who recognised Palestine liberation organization (PLO). India also gave its positive gesture when Palestine was declared independent in 1988.

What happened in Parliament?

On Monday, the Government took a neutral approach and in a veiled tone maintained that peace in the region is needed and both (Israel-Palestine) should accept Egypt's offer of peace talks.

"There is absolutely no change in India's policy towards Palestine, which is that we fully support the Palestinian cause while maintaining good relations with Israel," External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said, while replying question in Parliament.

After giving in for Opposition's demand for discussion, the government blocked a resolution against Israel in Parliament and maintained that India will not take side of any of the country.

Government should be pragmatic in its approach

The only question is why Government is giving the impression that India is in a fix on the issue. The Gaza conflict and followed impact of it is influencing geo-politics of whole of the West and South Asia.

West Asia is the economic lifeline for India and country can't afford to displease them as the economy is in flagging state. Iraq, Iran and Saudi Arabia are the biggest oil and gas suppliers for our country. Though India don't want to angry its long-time ally Israel with which it has close military ties and trade relations. One more reason is major European countries along with US have been backing Israel on the conflicting Gaza crisis.

Rather than being indecisive on the issue, India must be more pragmatic in its approach. World should get the message that India has nerve to speak on the matter of truth and Modi Government has already proved it in the recent past. On the matter of BRICS development Bank, bringing back nurses from strife-torn Iraq are some of the examples where Modi Government proved its diplomatic knack. So, India should always stand by what is in the larger interest of the country.

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