Report: India Weighs Dropping Support for Palestinians at UN in Wake of Closer Ties to Israel

Diplomatic ties between Israel and India have warmed considerably since the election of Narendra Modi in April.

ברק רביד - צרובה
Barak Ravid
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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New York, September 29, 2014.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New York, September 29, 2014.Credit: Avi Ohayon, GPO
ברק רביד - צרובה
Barak Ravid

Following a power change in India and improvement of its relations with Israel, the government of Narendra Modi is considering changing its UN voting policy regarding the Palestinian issue.

According to the popular newspaper The Hindu, the Indian government, which for many years has automatically voted pro-Palestinian, is weighing changing its policy to abstaining on votes regarding the Middle East peace process, which "could amount to a tectonic shift in the country's foreign policy," according to The Hindu.

The Indian paper quoted two Indian government officials who confirmed that a policy change is being explored.

“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.

India is one of most prominent members among nonaligned nations that have traditionally supported the Palestinians at the United Nations for decades.

Since establishing diplomatic relations in 1992, Israel and India have had a close strategic relationship, especially in the fields of security, intelligence and the war on terror. India is one of the main clients of Israel's defense industries.

Still, the Indians carefully separated their close bilateral relations with Israel and its UN policy on the Palestinian issue, where it maintained an anti-Israel line.

Modi's Hindu nationalist BJP was elected to power in April, and he was appointed prime minister. Modi is considered somewhat exceptional in Indian politics because of his pro-Israel positions, which he does not hesitate to express publicly.

Modi, who visited Israel in 2006, is deemed controversial because of his Hindu nationalist and anti-Muslim stances. When he was in the opposition, the United States refused to give him of visa because of these oppositions.

Indian relations with Israel have warmed considerably since Modi rose to power. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was one of the first world leaders to call Modi to congratulate him on his victory. Modi and Netanyahu held publicized meetings during the UN General Assembly in New York. In addition, the Delhi government carried out deals that had been frozen for years to acquire Israeli weapons.

A few days ago, the Indian prime minister tweeted on his Twitter account Hanukkah greetings in Hebrew and English to Jews in Israel and around the world. Netanyahu tweeted back thanks in Hindi.

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