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Gaza War: India's UNGA Abstention - A Strategic Analysis



  Nov 06, 2023

Gaza War:India's Abstention on UNGA Resolution: A Strategic Standpoint



The abstention by India during the United Nations General Assembly vote on a resolution for a truce in the Israel-Hamas conflict has been a subject of analysis and debate.

The situation involves a resolution that was voted for by 120 member countries on October 26, calling for an "immediate, durable and sustained humanitarian truce."

Reasons for India’s Abstention

India's abstention can be attributed to multiple factors:

Strong Position on Terrorism: India's abstention reflects its stand against terrorism. The government expressed that the resolution lacked an "explicit condemnation" of the Hamas-initiated terror attacks on October 7, which resulted in casualties and hostages.

Balance in Diplomatic Relations: India seeks to maintain a balanced relationship with both Israel and Palestine. While it has historically supported Palestine, its growing ties with Israel have led to a more nuanced stance at the UN.

Tightrope Diplomacy: India's abstention may also signal its approach to maintaining neutrality or a "tightrope balance" in a polarized international setting, as seen in its abstentions concerning resolutions on other global issues.

Historical Stance on Palestine

India has had a longstanding supportive stance towards Palestine:

India opposed the partition of Palestine in 1947 and the creation of Israel.

It was the first non-Arab state to recognize the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) in 1974.

India officially recognized Palestine as a state in 1988.

However, post the 1990s, especially after establishing full diplomatic relations with Israel, India's stance at the UN has evolved, showing more abstentions and occasional opposition to resolutions that appeared to be singularly critical of Israel.

Implications of India’s Vote

India’s abstention at the UNGA was noted by various countries, including Israel, which while hoping for India's opposition to the resolution, appreciated India's stand. The abstention aligns India with its Quad partners like Australia and South Korea and NATO members such as Canada, who also abstained.

Significance for Civil Service Aspirants

For civil service examinees, India's abstention is a significant case study in international relations and diplomacy.
It exemplifies the complexities of foreign policy decisions in the context of historical alliances, terrorism, and geopolitical strategies.
Aspirants should understand how these decisions may affect international standing and bilateral relations, and how they fit into the larger framework of international law, human rights, and global peacekeeping efforts.

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