India assures its stand on Palestine is 'independent'

MAHMUD HAMS

"There was a time India stood for something", Abdullah said.

It may be recalled that then President Pranab Mukherjee visited Jordan, Israel and Palestine in 2015.

He clarified that the state of Palestine without east Jerusalem will not exist and will not be accepted. It contains sites sacred to the three major faiths - Judaism, Islam and Christianity.

India has maintained that it would take an independent stance on the subject.

The government's position came in for sharp criticism from the CPM.

In accordance with the United States Jerusalem move, India on Thursday stated that its position on Palestine is independent and consistent. "It is shaped by our views and interests and not determined by any third country", said Raveesh Kumar, spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs.

In recent months, India has differed with the USA on its ties with Cuba, Iran and even North Korea (where it made a decision to maintain its embassy).

With Wednesday's announcement by Trump, the USA became the first country to recognise Israel's sovereignty over entire Jerusalem. The statement however did not specifically address the issue of Jerusalem as the USA -recognised capital of Israel.

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University of Pennsylvania political science professor Ian Lustick says there does not appear to be an opportunity any longer to negotiate a peace based on an Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank.

Participating in a discussion on the channel, Alhaijaa said India has been supportive of the Palestinian cause and the two-state solution.

His message on the occasion of International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People on November 25 last or India's statement to UN General Assembly on November 29 last, too, did not refer to the call for East Jerusalem to be the capital of Palestine.

"They are doing that", he said, "but the Israeli bureaucracy creates enormous obstacles to Arabs becoming citizens, even if they live in Jerusalem".

New Delhi is now set to host Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who is likely to visit India next month. "We are looking for a different body to look after the peace process".

India's ambivalent position stood out not just because of New Delhi's traditional advocacy of the Palestinian cause but also in comparison to the sharp reactions Trump's decision has evoked both in the Arab world and elsewhere, including Russian Federation, the UK, France, Germany, China, the European Union and the UN. "I have reaffirmed our position on this to President Abbas during our conversation today".

India with its historical relations with the Ottoman and Persian empires, Iraq and the Gulf, besides Egypt, Morocco and other North African states, have navigated complexities of the Arab World in a rather smooth fashion.

India enjoys close ties with both Israel and Palestine.

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