Gaza, a new pointer to India’s changed world view – From Non-Alignment to Strategic Alliances: India’s Evolving Foreign Policy in the Israel-Palestine Conflict | 14 December 2023 | UPSC Daily Editorial Analysis

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What's the article about?

  • It talks about the India's evolving Foreign Policy in backdrop of the Israel-Palestine conflict.


  • GS2: Bilateral, Regional and Global Groupings and Agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests


  • India's stance on the Israel-Palestine conflict has undergone a fascinating transformation, reflecting the evolution of its foreign policy from post-colonial non-alignment to strategic alliances in the contemporary geopolitical landscape. This analysis delves into the historical context, turning points, and recent developments shaping India's position in this intricate and enduring conflict.


  • Non-Alignment and Anti-Colonial Roots:
    • Deeply influenced by Jawaharlal Nehru's anti-colonial vision, India initially adopted a posture of non-alignment during the Cold War.
    • Moral opposition to imperialism and apartheid often aligned India with the USSR against the West, despite its internal commitment to democracy and diversity.
    • India voted against the partition of Palestine in 1947, advocating for a single secular state, mirroring its own experience with a painful territorial division.
  • Turning Point: Security Cooperation with Israel:
    • The rise of Pakistan-backed Islamic militancy in India led to a strategic shift towards closer ties with Israel, a fellow target of Islamist extremists.
    • Security and intelligence cooperation blossomed, marking a significant departure from past estrangement.
  • Balancing Act: Maintaining Support for Palestine:
    • Despite growing security ties with Israel, India continued its long-standing support for the PLO and the two-state solution.
    • This balancing act reflected India's internal Muslim population and its commitment to a peaceful resolution of the conflict.
  • Modi Era and the Rise of New Alliances:
    • Prime Minister Narendra Modi's leadership witnessed a further strengthening of the India-Israel relationship, driven by increased defense equipment purchases and intelligence cooperation.
    • Modi's personal warmth with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu symbolized the deepening ties.
  • Gaza Conflict and a Shifting Stance:
    • India's initial one-sided support for Israel during the October 2023 Gaza conflict faced mounting criticism, prompting a subsequent statement advocating for a ceasefire and a two-state solution.
    • However, India's abstention from the UN resolution calling for a truce was perceived as pro-Israel and an outlier compared to the G20's stance.
  • China's Rise and a Reoriented Geopolitical Landscape:
    • China's growing influence has pushed India closer to the United States, leading to strategic partnerships like the I2U2 dialogue and the G20's IMEC initiative.
    • This strategic shift, coupled with the decreasing relevance of Russia and China's territorial encroachments, necessitates a reassessment of India's global alignments.

Way Forward:

  • India's stance on the Israel-Palestine conflict serves as a microcosm of its broader foreign policy evolution. Moving away from the Nehruvian ideals of non-alignment, India is increasingly forging strategic alliances and navigating the complexities of a multipolar world. The Gaza conflict exposes the tensions inherent in this shift, highlighting the need for India to balance its security concerns with its moral commitments and its aspirations to be a voice for the Global South.

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