India may change pro-Palestinian stance at UN

Sources say Modi government pondering policy of abstention, amid warming ties between Jerusalem and Delhi

Lazar Berman is The Times of Israel's diplomatic reporter

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi on December 11, 2014. (Photo credit: AFP/Findlay KEMBER)
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi on December 11, 2014. (Photo credit: AFP/Findlay KEMBER)

India is considering moving away from its traditional support for the Palestinian cause at the United Nations, Indian government sources said.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is looking at moving to a policy of abstention, according to The Hindu newspaper. The report Sunday was based on two anonymous government sources.

“Like other foreign policy issues, the Modi government is looking at India’s voting record at the United Nations on the Palestinian issue,” one of the sources said.

The other source indicated that the realignment would only need an “administrative nod.”

The report came amid a significant warming in relations between New Delhi and Jerusalem since Modi came to power in May.

Last week, Modi sent out a Hanukkah greeting in Hebrew, to the delight of many Israelis and Hebrew-speakers around the world.

In a post on Twitter, Modi wished his “Jewish friends a happy Hanukkah! May this Festival of Lights and the festive season ring in peace, hope and well-being for all.” The post was then sent out in English as well.

Last month, the two allies successfully tested an advanced missile system, which was hailed by an adviser to the Indian defense minister as “an important milestone in the cooperation between India and Israel.”

The test came days after Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh visited Israel in the highest-level official trip ever for Delhi.

“Israel and India are at the cusp of a new era of increased cooperation in a wide variety of fields,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said while meeting Singh on November 6.

In September, Netanyahu met Modi in New York on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly to discuss nuclear developments in Iran and expanding bilateral ties between Jerusalem and Delhi.

The meeting was the first between the Israeli and Indian premiers in over a decade, according to the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office.

Netanyahu reportedly invited India to participate in a joint effort on cyberdefense, a project that will aim to be a link between civilian and military authorities in both countries.

In October, India reportedly agreed to a $525 million deal to buy Israel’s guided Spike missiles, which were widely used during Operation Protective Edge.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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