Prime Minister Narendra Modi will soon head towards the gulf for a tri-nation trip covering up Oman, UAE and Palestine to re-orchestrate India’s friendliness towards the Islamic gulf nations, and to neutralise and balance out the recent developments with Israel.
India has been maintaining a self-inflicted diplomatic policy since decades – it is friends with Russia, it is friends with the US; it has stood by Palestine and is allied with Gulf nations while it has been an old friend of Iran and has been getting in an affair with Israel lately. In July, PM Modi decided to break decades-long self-inflicted embargo of Indian foreign diplomacy and became the first Prime Minister of India to visit Israel. But, despite the maiden visit and even before he stepped on Israeli soil, Indian diplomatic policy was taken care of. Months before Modi’s trip to the Jews nation, India had warmly rolled out red carpet for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas – reassuring India’s historic stand alongside Palestine. For decades, this has worked for India – maintaining a diplomatic balance in relations with countries at rift with each other.
With this system, India has maintained to protect its interests and ambitions in and beyond Asia with a web of diplomacy keeping it clear of taking political and sectarian quagmire that regularly engulfs other countries. All this is important for India, after all it is fastening up to become a global political and economic player. Just after a grandiose hearty welcome of Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu, India had to de-hyphenate it and hence, PM’s trip to Palestine. The visit to Ramallah will not only reaffirm India’s commitment towards a legacy policy, but also to re-establish to the Palestinians. But beyond that, it will clear off any consensus among the Arab nations that may suggest Israel is a “no-go” issue for New Delhi is against the autonomy of Indian strategic thinking.
All in all, Israel accepts the fact that India has a stand for Palestine and it was not miffed when Indian decided to stand against Israel and pressed the yes button at UNGA recently. On the other hand, Palestine has too accepted India’s developments in bilateral friendship with Israel. It works on international political platform, but, there is another purpose for Indian government to act gulf – an internal reason. The government believes that its inclinations towards Palestine and Arab nations will secure the vote-bank within the country by wooing the Indian Muslim community. It used to matter up to certain extent, but in 21st century, the community is much more interested in security, stability and economic progress, than the Palestine issue that is almost forced upon them.
India is coming up as a rising superpower on international narratives, and West Asia is an example of India successfully balancing its interests over time, an emboldened Indian presence will also disallow New Delhi to fence-sit on issues of global relevance beyond a certain point. There will be a point when India too, will require to stop the political de-hyphenating policy or it will delegitimise New Delhi’s stand on a global platform – for the sake of India’s national and international interests.