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regular-article-logo Sunday, 26 May 2024

India pussyfoots around Israel vote, abstains from call on immediate ceasefire in Gaza

While abstaining from this resolution, India voted for another resolution — again moved by Pakistan on behalf of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation — on the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination. The US and Paraguay rejected this resolution

Anita Joshua New Delhi Published 07.04.24, 06:51 AM
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Representational image File picture

India on Friday abstained from voting on a resolution at the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council that called for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and urged Israel to end its occupation of the Palestinian territory since 1967 and lift its blockade of the region.

The resolution also called on all states to cease the sale, transfer and diversion of arms, munitions and other military equipment to Israel.

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It was adopted with 28 countries voting in support, 13 abstaining and 6 — including the US and Germany — voting against.

While abstaining from this resolution, India voted for another resolution — again moved by Pakistan on behalf of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation — on the
Palestinian people’s right to self-determination. The US and Paraguay rejected this resolution.

Another resolution that India supported called on Israel to cease all settlement-related plans and activities in the Syrian Golan.

The external affairs ministry did not respond to queries seeking an explanation of India’s vote, particularly the abstentions. Since the terrorist attack on Israel by Hamas on October 7, 2023, India has shuffled its position on the conflict.

India had initially abstained from a resolution on Gaza at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) that called for a humanitarian truce and protection of civilians. India had then justified its abstention on the ground that the resolution did not explicitly condemn the Hamas attacks of October 7.

It took India over two months of the Israeli pounding of Gaza — which killed hundreds of children — to call for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire at the UNGA on December 12.

India explained its shift in stance as an attempt to “strike the right balance”. Israel was not too pleased with India joining 152 other countries in passing this resolution at the UNGA but chose to highlight how New Delhi also supported amendments that sought mention of Hamas in the resolution.

While India has remained steadfast to the two-state solution, its approach to the current conflict has been seen as more nuanced than its earlier practice of batting more openly for Palestine.

India has also stepped in to help Israel deal with the labour crunch faced by its construction industry since this conflict began, by sending workers to the country over the past week.

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