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All India Radio (AIR): India Palestine Relations

  • August 18, 2017
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All India Radio
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India Palestine Relations

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Topic: General Studies 2

  • Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests
  • Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests

In news: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas visited India on a third state visit. Delegation level talks were held and 5 agreements were signed. The two decided to strengthen cooperation enabling sharing of information and perspectives to fight international terror and also cooperation in health, IT, agriculture and youth affairs. The visit is seen is a significant one reinforcing the old traditional ties between India and Palestine. In 2015, President of India visited Palestine. In that sense the relationship is growing.

Background

India’s solidarity with the Palestinian people and its attitude to the Palestinian question was given voice during India’s freedom struggle by Mahatma Gandhi. Since then, empathy with the Palestinian cause and friendship with the people of Palestine have become an integral part of India’s foreign policy. India was the first Non-Arab State to recognize PLO as sole and legitimate representative of the Palestinian people in 1974. India was one of the first countries to recognize the State of Palestine in 1988.

India-Israel-Palestine and two-state theory

Ties between India and Israel are getting closer. This should not be taken as a zero sum game. India’s relations with Israel stand on their own merit and reasons such as dealing with terrorism, defence preparedness, import of sophisticated defence equipment etc.

India believes in a two-state solution in which both Israel and a future Palestinian state coexist peacefully.

Palestine wants India to play a more active role in Middle East peace process. As India’s profile, economic strength, respect and reach to the countries in the Middle East is increasing and getting greater acceptability among all players, the Palestinians feel that India could play a decisive role.  India also believes that sustainable and durable peace is required in the region.

History of Israel and Palestine conflict

It is the 50th year of the Israeli occupation of Palestine. It has been 50 years since Israel annexed the Palestinian territories of West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza Strip following the Six Day Arab-Israeli War of June 1967.

During this time, Israel has tightened its hold over the territories, crushed Palestinian resistance and created hundreds of thousands of refugees.

India’s role in global issues

India is growing and it has more vociferously put its case for entry into UNSC. India has to take hold of the responsibility that go with it. In that sense, India will become a significant international player and these are some challenges which confront the international community. India has a political strength and enjoys confidence, trust and beliefs of both sides. Hence, India is ideally suited to play a significant role in region and globally.

India-Palestine relations

Apart from the strong political support to the Palestinian cause at international and bilateral levels, India has been contributing material and technical assistance to the Palestinian people.

At present, India is assisting Palestine national authority with 30 million dollars. India is undertaking project assistance for a flagship Techno-park project in Ramallah. Once completed, it will serve as an IT hub in Palestine offering a one-stop solution for all IT related training and services.

Conclusion

India is not yet a mediator in many of the conflicts in West Asia but hopes to expand its footprints across the region, which is in its extended neighbourhood. India also participated in a conference on Israel and Palestine organised by France in Paris in early 2017. The recent meet of the Arab leaders in Amman called for “creation of a Palestinian state under a two-state solution that would be the basis of a comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace deal”.

Increasing cooperation and partnership engagement between India and Palestine would send a message to Israel to respect the sovereignty of Palestine. India has been confident of playing an important role between two nations in a manner that it doesn’t affect India’s national interest as well its ideology.

Connecting the dots:

  • India has implicitly dehyphenated its ‘Israel-Palestinian’ foreign policy. Critically analyse in context of India’s growing closeness with Israel.

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