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India Considering an End to Automatic Support of Palestinians at UN

The new Indian government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi is considering a “tectonic” adjustment in its foreign policy by no longer voting for the Palestinians in the United Nations, The Hindu, a leading Indian newspaper, reported [1] Monday.

In what could amount to a tectonic shift in the country’s foreign policy, the Modi government is looking at altering India’s supporting vote for the Palestinian cause at the United Nations to one of abstention.

Two sources within the government confirmed to The Hindu that the change, which will be a fundamental departure from India’s support to the cause of a Palestinian state, was under consideration.

According to one of the sources, the change only requires “an administrative nod.” The Hindu observes that “[t]his re-examination of India’s voting stance will come as sweet music to Israeli ears just as it will raise concerns in West Asian capitals about the future course of Indian foreign policy.”

Writing in The Jerusalem Post, Vijeta Uniyal described [2] the changes in Indian politics that made this breakthrough possible.

Early this year, India elected Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his center-right “Bharatiya Janata Party” on the main promise of turning around the economy and reining in the terrorism. Prime Minister Modi has an efficient track record as an administrator, as Chief Minister of the western Indian State of Gujarat (2001-2014), and has not disappointed his supporters by his governance since taking over the prime ministerial charge. He is also the first Indian leader to have actually visited Israel – before taking the PM’s office. He never made a secret of his admiration for Israel’s scientific and social achievements.

The political base that elected Prime Minister Modi to the office is overwhelming supportive of Israel. During the recent Gaza conflict India’s youth showed unprecedented support for Israel. At the height of the conflict the hash-tag “IndiawithIsrael” was trending prominently on social media. On August 16, the city of Kolkata (formerly Calcutta) witnessed a 20,000-strong rally in support of Israel.

Uniyal noted the irony that “despite these promising developments,” including a huge growth in bilateral trade since the two countries established relations in 1991 and growing cooperation in numerous scientific fields, “India’s voting record at UN has not changed since the hay days of the Cold War.” That may be about to change.

[Photo: Narendra Modi / WikiCommons [3] ]