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Ganesh Pote asked: What is India's stand on the Palestine question? How does India balance its support for Palestine with good relations with Israel simultaneously?

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  • S. Samuel C. Rajiv replies: India supports the establishment of a Palestinian state as soon as possible with East Jerusalem as its capital. India also supports the Arab Peace Plan, elements of which calls for the withdrawal of Israel to pre-1967 borders as well as the recognition of Israel by the Arab countries.

    India extends political, diplomatic and economic support to the Palestinians. India has hosted the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas four times since 2005 - most recently in September 2012 - in contrast to the lack of such high-level political contacts with the Israelis. India has supported the Palestinian bid for membership of the UN, and has given more than $50 million as aid to the Palestinian National Authority since 2005.

    At the same time, however, India enjoys a mutually beneficial relationship with Israel, spanning the defence sector, economic cooperation and close interactions in such fields as agriculture, water harvesting among others as well as strong tourist links. Examples of such cooperation include the Centres of Excellence in agriculture which have been opened in Haryana and other such centres are likely to come up in different states.

    For further reading, please refer to the article ‘The Delicate Balance: Israel and India's Foreign Policy Practice’, Strategic Analysis, 36 (1), January 2012, pp. 128-144.