Last Friday, India abstained from a vote on a UN Human Rights Council resolution condemning Israel’s conduct during the most recent Gaza war; on Tuesday, a delegation of Indian diplomats visited Israel. Raphael Ahren puts these developments in context:
Although New Delhi emphasized that its vote did not signal any change in its policy of support for the Palestinian cause, India’s abstention was celebrated in Israel as a remarkable diplomatic achievement. . . .
As a longstanding member of the non-aligned movement, which always votes with the Palestinians and against Israel, India’s abstention last Friday, which followed a telephone conversation between Benjamin Netanyahu and [India’s Narendra] Modi, indeed signaled a historic change. . . . On June 1, India also abstained in a vote on whether to grant the [Hamas-affiliated] Palestinian Return Center “consultative status” at the UN Economic and Social Council’s NGO committee.
Modi, who is expected in Israel later this year in what would be a historic first visit of an Indian prime minister, has accelerated the rapprochement with Jerusalem. While strong defense and business ties existed before he came to power in April 2014, he made the relationship much more visible.