New Delhi: India has reiterated its support for the Palestinian people, urging “early resumption of dialogue” with Israel on the eve of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, a United Nations-organised observance that takes place on 29 November each year.
“On the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, I reiterate India’s strong support for the Palestinian cause. I also express our solidarity with the Palestinian people in their efforts to establish a sovereign, independent, viable and united state of Palestine co-existing peacefully with Israel,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi stated in a letter dated 20 November.
The letter was tweeted by India’s Permanent Mission to the UN in New York.
— India at UN, NY (@IndiaUNNewYork) November 28, 2019
Modi also mentioned in the letter that India hoped “for an early resumption of the dialogue between Palestine and Israel for moving towards a comprehensive and negotiated resolution”.
He spoke of his visit to Palestine last year, highlighting India’s continued assistance towards Palestinian nation-building.
India’s equation with Israel and Palestine under Modi
During his first tenure, Modi became the first Indian PM to visit Israel, in July 2017, thereby deepening the countries’ ties. Subsequently, in February 2018, Modi visited Palestine, again a first by an Indian PM. On both visits, he advocated dialogue between Israel and Palestine.
Just two days ago, on 26 November, on the occasion of India’s Constitution Day, Modi had said India and Israel “share and value the same principles of democracy” in response to the wishes of Israel President Reuven Rivlin and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Five days earlier, India was among 166 nations that endorsed the Palestinian “right to self-determination” at the UN General Assembly.
In June this year, for the first time, India voted in support of Israel at the UN’s Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) to deny observer status to a Palestinian human rights organisation named ‘Shahed’, a step lauded by Netanyahu.
Consul general’s remarks
India’s support for Palestine also comes at a time when comments made by India’s Consul General in New York, Sandeep Chakravorty, have ignited a raging debate on social media.
In a viral video, Chakraborty was seen espousing the Israeli model of land reclamation to Kashmiri Pandits, thousands of whom were driven out of the Valley during the militancy in the 1980s and 1990s.
“If the Israeli people can do it, we can also do it. I think we should follow from there and push our leadership, otherwise what is the point (in revoking Article 370)? Things will remain the same,” Chakravorty had said, though he later wrote on Twitter that his remarks were taken out of context.