Israel-Palestine Conflict: India’s Diplomatic Balancing Act
The recent tragic events in Israel, where citizens fell victim to acts of terrorism by Hamas, have elicited India’s solidarity and empathy. Prime Minister Narendra Modi swiftly expressed India’s support for Israel. As both nations grapple with terrorism, the pain experienced in Israel resonates with India, which has also endured its share of terror attacks.
GS-02- Bilateral Groupings & Agreements, Indian Diaspora, Groupings & Agreements Involving India and/or Affecting India’s Interests
Israel, Palestine, Middle-East, Arab World, Yom Kippur War, Zionism, Al-Aqsa, Gaza Strip, Jerusalem, Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO)
Discuss India’s diplomatic balancing act in the face of the Israel-Palestine conflict. How can India maintain its stance against terrorism while adhering to international humanitarian laws? (250 words)
Dimensions of the Article:
- India’s Solidarity with Israel
- Nuanced Response of Indian Government
- Challenges in Balancing Policy
India’s Solidarity with Israel:
- Following the horrific attack by Hamas fighters, India promptly conveyed its solidarity with Israel.
- While the two nations have experienced different histories and magnitudes of violence, their shared struggle against terrorism creates a bond.
- India’s second major concern during the crisis was the well-being of its citizens residing in Israel.
- Approximately 18,000 Indians work or study in Israel, and an additional 85,000 Israelis of Indian origin further intertwine the two nations. The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) initiated efforts to bring Indian citizens back to safety.
Nuanced Response of Indian Government:
- The Indian government exhibited a nuanced response to the conflict, taking into account the complexity of the situation. The MEA delivered an official statement reiterating its condemnation of Hamas attacks while reminding Israel of its universal obligation to observe international humanitarian law. India reaffirmed its steadfast stance on the Palestinian issue.
- Since establishing full diplomatic relations with Israel in 1992, India has walked a diplomatic tightrope. Despite growing bilateral relations, trade, technological cooperation, and counter-terrorism efforts with Israel, India has maintained its support for the Palestinian cause.
- This delicate balancing act is evident through high-level visits between India, Israel, and Palestine. India’s 2017 vote against declaring Jerusalem as the Israeli capital also underscores its commitment to the Palestinian issue.
Challenges in Balancing Policy:
- Israel’s response to the attacks has posed a challenge for India’s policy balancing act. While India condemns terrorism unequivocally, it refrains from endorsing indiscriminate retaliatory bombings.
- Israel’s call for over a million Gaza residents to evacuate intensifies the complexity of India’s policy balancing endeavor.
- India should maintain its principled stance against terrorism, making it clear that historical grievances cannot justify inhuman attacks. However, it should also emphasize the importance of adhering to international humanitarian laws, as indiscriminate violence can exacerbate the conflict and harm civilians.
- India must continue to tread cautiously in its diplomacy, encouraging a peaceful resolution to the Israel-Palestine conflict while maintaining its ties with both nations.
India’s response to the Israel-Palestine conflict exemplifies its diplomatic agility and commitment to maintaining principled foreign policy. By balancing its support for both Israel and the Palestinian cause, India can contribute to global efforts to address terrorism while fostering peace in the region. The situation in Israel underscores the ongoing challenges India faces in balancing its diplomatic policy in a complex and volatile international landscape.