A DOZEN Arab ambassadors have asked India to clarify its position on the US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, diplomatic sources said, after New Delhi’s muted response suggested a shift in support for the Palestinian cause.
President Donald Trump abruptly reversed decades of US policy this month when he recognised Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Trump also plans to move the US embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv.
Countries around the world, including US allies Britain and France, criticised Trump’s decision, but India did not take sides.
Instead, the Indian foreign ministry in a brief statement, said India’s position was consistent and independent of any third party. The statement made no reference to Jerusalem and prompted criticism at home that it was insufficient, vague and anti-Palestinian.
Last week, envoys from Arab states including Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Kuwait based in New Delhi met Indian junior foreign minister MJ Akbar to brief the government about an Arab League meeting on December 9 condemning the US decision, a diplomatic and an Indian government source said.
The envoys also sought a more forthright Indian response, the sources said.
But Akbar gave no assurance and the Indian source said the government had no plans for a further articulation on Jerusalem, which is at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Israel maintains that all of Jerusalem is its capital. Palestinians want East Jerusalem as the capital of a future independent state and say Trump’s move has left them marginalised and jeopardised any hopes of a two-state solution.
India was one of the earliest and most vocal champions of the Palestinian cause during the days it was leading the Non-Aligned Movement while it quietly pursued ties with Israel.
But under prime minister Narendra Modi, New Delhi has moved to a more open relationship with Israel.