• Palestine’s Prime Minister Dr Mohammad Shtayyeh has sought India’s support for Palestinian cause at international forums like United Nations during his meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the sidelines of climate summit.


  • India is currently a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council that has seen number of discussions on Palestine and Israel situation.
  • Stressing on the “great importance” Palestine attaches to “India who has a growing weight in international politics”, PM Shtayyeh said, “We are ready for all forms of cooperation with India, which serves as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for the 2021-2022, and was re-elected to the Human Rights Council for the 2022-2024 term.”
  • Earlier, Palestine was miffed with India’s abstention at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) resolution that called for a probe into violence in Gaza earlier this year.
  • The resolution saw India among the 14 countries abstaining on the issue of the probe.
  • The Palestinian foreign minister Dr Riad Malki had then written to India’s external affairs minister Dr S Jaishankar expressing concern over the position taken by India.


  • India has dropped its stock phrase of ‘strong support to the just Palestinian cause’ in its statement at the UNHRC. This indicates India’s pro-Israel shift.
  • India’s permanent representative (PR) to the UN made a statement at the UN Security Council reiterating India’s strong support to the ‘just Palestinian cause’ and its unwavering commitment to the two-state solution. Many observers called it a ‘balancing act’ because while India recognised the ‘just Palestinian cause’, it condemned the ‘indiscriminate’ rocket firing from Gaza targeting Israeli citizens.


  • India’s connection with Israel dates back to 1947 when it, as a newly-formed nation under Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, voted against the UN partition plan of Mandate Palestine in 1947, along with most Arab countries. Since then, India has adopted a diplomatic position with regard to the Israel-Palestine issue. It recognised Israel as a nation in 1950, though India’s ties with Israel were not as friendly as they are today.
  • In the 1970s, under the Congress government, India became the first non-Arab country to support the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) and its leader Yasser Arafat as the formal representative of Palestinians in the General Assembly. Thus, India started establishing full diplomatic ties with Israel and taking a ‘neutral’ position on the issue.
  • The diplomatic ties between India and Israel, however, were formally established by the Narasimha Rao government in 1992, followed by Israel opening its embassy in New Delhi and India opening its embassy in Tel Aviv.
  • Still, India had supported many UN resolutions favouring Palestine, until recently. In October 2003, India voted in favour of the UN General Assembly resolution against Israel’s construction of a separation wall.
  • In 2011, India voted for Palestine to become a full member of UNESCO. In 2012, India co-sponsored the UN General Assembly resolution that enabled Palestine to become a “non-member” observer state without voting rights.

AFTER 2014

  • In July 2014, about two months after the Narendra Modi-led BJP government came to power, India voted in support of a UNHRC resolution to launch a probe into Israel’s offensive on Gaza.
  • However, it was in July 2015, that India, for the first time, abstained from voting on a resolution on Palestine adopted at the UN rights body
  • The resolution called for accountability by parties involved in the 2015 violence in Gaza. In 2016, India again abstained on the UNHRC resolution against Israel.
  • In December 2017, India was among 128 countries that voted in favour of a UN General Assembly resolution rejecting the then US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
  • In January 2018, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu became the second Israeli Prime Minister since 1992 to visit India. His visit came six months after Narendra Modi visited Israel in July 2017, the first-ever by an Indian Prime Minister.


  • Defence – India is Israel’s top destination for arms exports, buying 41% of Israel’s arms export between 2012 and 2016, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, an independent global conflict and arms-research institute.
    • Israel is India’s third-largest source of arms, with a 7.2% share of imports between 2012 and 2016, next to the USA (14%) and Russia (68%).
  • Agriculture – An Indo-Israel agriculture action plan for 2015-18 is operational, and 15 of the proposed 26 centers of excellence in agriculture are being developed in India with Israel’s help to showcase the latest technology to Indian farmers.
    • India has benefited from Israeli technologies in horticulture mechanisation, protected cultivation, orchard and canopy management, nursery management, micro-irrigation and post-harvest management, particularly in Haryana and Maharashtra.
    • There was a five-to 10-fold increase in crop yields with an accompanying 65% reduction in use of water and noticeable decrease in the use of pesticides and fertilisers, according to this December 2014 report on the Indo-Israel Agriculture Project.
  • Water Management- Technologically-adept Israel has developed water-management technologies, located as it is in a semi-arid region with limited sources of fresh drinking water.
    • The union cabinet approved a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Israel on the National Campaign for Water Conservation in India.
  • Trade – Trade in diamonds accounts for nearly 54% of the bilateral trade. Nearly 40 diamond dealers from India have opened offices at the Israeli diamond exchange in Ramat-Gan. Some of these dealers have been active in Israel for nearly 30-40 years.

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