Is Modi Govt’s Stand on Palestine Different From Vajpayee’s? 
Former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
Former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.(Photo: Altered by The Quint)

Is Modi Govt’s Stand on Palestine Different From Vajpayee’s? 

India gained independence in 1947 and Israel was created in 1948. But it was only in the year 1992 that bilateral relationship was established between India and Israel.

Since the establishment of a formal relationship, both India and Israel have developed "warm ties", as a report in The Wire puts it. The countries have been cooperating in areas including agriculture, technology and defence sectors.

While Israel has been sending its heads of state to India since 1993, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is the first sitting Prime Minister to visit Israel, marking 25 years of bilateral relations between both countries.

However, unlike President Pranab Mukherjee and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj's visit in 2016, Modi's visit did not include a stop at Ramallah, the Palestinian city.

We expected him [Modi] to visit both Israel and Palestine. To play an important role between the two sides and to be able to spread the message of peace, one should visit both.
Tasir Jaradat, Palestinian Deputy Foreign Minister, to Al Jazeera

President Abbas’s Visit to India

When Palestinain President Mahmoud Abbas visited India on Modi-government's invitation in May this year, New Delhi addressed him as 'President of Palestine', and not as 'Palestinian Authority'. This was the Palestinian President’s third state visit to the country.

But India's declared support to the two-state solution did not mention East Jerusalem as Palestine's future capital, reported Haaretz.

After meeting with Abbas, PM Modi said:

India has been unwavering in its support of the Palestinian cause. And we hope to see the realisation of a sovereign, independent, united and viable Palestine, coexisting peacefully with Israel.

Abbas called India “a friend” and reiterated that the country had the capacity to influence at the international level. He added that India was considered a crucial partner in resolving the Israel-Palestine conflict.

Also Read: Here’s How Israeli Media Covered PM Modi’s ‘Historic’ Visit

When Modi Government Abstained From Voting

Asked whether India would take a more pro-Israel posture in the UN, during his ongoing trip to the country, Modi said India’s positions at the UN are based on the merit of specific issues and driven by the country’s core values and principles.

We remain engaged with all our partners, including Israel, in finding optimal outcomes at the UN and other multilateral fora that reflect our commonly shared priorities and concerns. India is not in favour of singling out any country at the UN.
Narendra Modi
However, in November 2016, the Narendra Modi government abstained on two resolutions against the Israeli establishment – UN Human Rights Commission dealing with Israeli violations of international humanitarian law in the Occupied Territories, and another in the UN General Assembly against Israel’s military action in Palestine.

Vajpayee’s Open Declaration At UN

However, Modi's predecessor at the helm, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, while speaking at the United Nations had said:

The Palestinian people have an inalienable right to self-determination and to a nation-state of their own.
Atal Bihari Vajpayee

The former Indian prime minister is said to have openly declared that Palestine was a "traditional friend" and defended the country and its chief Yasser Arafat when United States called for Palestinians to vote out leaders “compromised by terror".

Interestingly was LK Advani, in his capacity as the Home Minister, during Vajpayee’s Prime Ministership in the year 2000 was the first senior minister from India to visit Israel.

(With inputs from The Wire, Al Jazeera, Arab News and Haaretz.)