United Nations: Following External Affairs minister Sushma Swaraj's reiteration that New Delhi's policy towards Palestine is unchanged, India pledged Tuesday support for an independent Palestine nation "at peace with Israel" and urged them to resume the peace process for a comprehensive solution.
"We firmly believe that dialogue is the only viable option in the search for a just, durable and comprehensive peaceful solution of the Palestinian issue," Deputy Permanent Representative Bhagwant S. Bishnoi told a high level conference here. "We call for all to show restraint, to avoid provocation and unilateral actions and to return to the peace process."
The measured statement came two days after India announced that Narendra Modi would soon become the first Indian prime minister to visit Israel. Disclosing the planned trip, Swaraj declared Sunday, "There was no change in India's policy towards Palestine."
Bishnoi said at the UN, "India supports a negotiated solution, resulting in a sovereign, independent, viable and united State of Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital, living within secure and recognized borders, side by side and at peace with Israel."
Tuesday's conference was organised to mark the 65 years of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). It was "unfortunate," Bishnoi said, "sixty five years have passed without finding an amicable solution to the Palestine Question."
India, he said, contributes $1 million annually to UNRWA, has pledged $4 million to the National Early Recovery and Reconstruction Plan for Gaza, and is working jointly with Brazil and South Africa on development projects in Palestine.
(Arul Louis can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)