India has been steadfast in its support for Palestinian cause, says Ambassador Tirumurti
New York [US], December 3 Permanent Representative to the United Nations TS Tirumurti on Wednesday said India has been steadfast in its support for the “just Palestinian cause,” adding that the people of Palestine must not be forgotten.
Speaking at the 75th Session of the United Nations General Assembly on the “Question of Palestine,” Tirumurti said, “Over the years, India has invested in strengthening human resource capacities of the Palestinian people through scholarships for Palestinian students pursuing higher education and training of Palestinian professionals in prestigious Indian institutes. Around 250 Palestinians benefit every year from such opportunities.”
“India has been steadfast in its support for the just Palestinian cause and in our solidarity with Palestinian people, which extends beyond political support,” he added.
Talking on the issue of nation-building, he said, “India’s efforts are also focused on Palestinian nation-building and strengthening institutions through the India-Palestine development partnership covering various sectors of the Palestinian economy. This includes the construction of schools, hospitals, technology parks, centres for excellence etc. We see it as an essential investment to help establish a viable and sovereign Palestinian State.”
Further talking about India’s position on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Tirumurti said, “India remains fully supportive of a peaceful negotiated settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict achieved through direct negotiations, resulting in the establishment of a Palestinian State living side by side in peace and security with Israel.”
On the issue of India’s humanitarian aid to Palestine, Ambassador Tirumurti said, “…India had quadrupled its support to United Nations Relief and Works Agency in recent years. We have also made a multi-year pledge of 10 million dollars over the coming two years to contribute to more stable and predictable funding for UNRWA.”
Palestine and Israel have been fighting over the Gaza Strip for decades.
They were later allotted a large part of Palestine, which they considered their ancestorial land but the Arabs who were already residing in and around the neighbouring countries felt that they have fallen into a pit of injustice and didn’t accept the new country.
India’s support for the Palestinian cause is an integral part of the nation’s foreign policy. In 1974, India became the first Non-Arab State to recognize the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) as the sole and legitimate representative of the Palestinian people.
India was also one of the first countries to recognize the State of Palestine in 1988. In 1996, India opened its Representative Office to the State of Palestine in Gaza, which was shifted to Ramallah in 2003.
India has always played an active role in garnering support for the Palestinian cause across various multilateral fora. India co-sponsored the draft resolution on “the right of Palestinians to self-determination” during the 53rd session of the UNGA and voted in favour of it. India also voted in favour of UNGA Resolution in October 2003 against the construction of the separation wall by Israel and supported subsequent resolutions of the UNGA in this regard.
India voted in favour of accepting Palestine as a full member of UNESCO. In 2012 at the UNGA, Palestine became a ‘non-member state’ and India had co-sponsored this resolution and voted in favour of it. India supported the Bandung Declaration on Palestine at the Asian African Commemorative Conference in April 2015 as well as supported installation of the Palestinian flag at UN premises in September 2015.