The Indian representative to the United Nations Security Council on Sunday supported the ‘just Palestine cause. This came as a surprise for not only blind Israeli supporters at home but also many other citizens who have in the past shown hopelessness towards the Indian state due to several of its internal policies. For people who understand diplomacy or foreign policy, this, however, is not something shocking given India’s history of siding with the Palestinian cause.
India voted against the Partition Plan of 1947 which was to partition the Palestinian land for the creation of Israel. India also in 1949 voted against Israel’s admission to the UNO. Asserting India’s unwavering support to the Palestinian cause in the UNSC, Indian representative T. S. Tirumurti described the historical religious connection of the country to the sacred city of Jerusalem. Al Zawiyya al Hindiyya was mentioned with regards to this subject, the hospice which was built and maintained as a memorial to the Indian sufi saint Baba Farid Ganjshakar and is still visited by Indian pilgrims to the city.
Now let’s talk about the technicalities. Indian representative condemned the ‘indiscriminate rocket firings’ from Gaza and called Israel’s bombing to be ‘retaliatory’. India’s nuanced statement reflects the balancing act that it has to do to maintain its historic ties with Palestine and also nurture its newer but deepening relationship with Israel. Having condemned Gaza before and calling Israel to be retaliatory is literally portraying that both sides are equally responsible and both the sides have suffered equally in this ”conflict”. But as a matter of fact, 10 people have lost their lives in Israel (Reuters) while 212 people (Al Jazeera), including 62 children and about 100 women have lost their lives in the Gaza strip alone due to Israel’s indiscriminate bombings, not including the number of death in Jerusalem or other cities. Also, about 1500 Palestinians are injured and with no medical facility, electricity, or fresh water supply, the injured to death ratio is expected to increase soon.
India also expressed its deep concern about the eviction of Palestinian families in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem. It called for de-escalation and urged both sides to try and maintain the status quo. Having said that, India did not give out any conclusive statement about its stance on East Jerusalem being the future capital of Palestine if the 2 state solution comes into being someday.
India’s statements may seem strong to the naked eye but if the layers of subtlety are scrutinized it would become clear that it is nothing but the prevalent tale of labeling the Israel-Palestinian issue to be a two-sided conflict where both sides are equally responsible. India’s internal policies may have become explicitly majoritarian in nature with the continued successes of BJP in the center but internationally, the state still follows the subtlety of the Congress era. India’s foreign policy at its roots is still very Nehruvian in nature but that too is changing as the Indian crowd gathers more and more voices in support of the oppressor apartheid state of Israel.