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Why did India vote against Israel at UNHRC?
India has voted in favor of a UNHRC resolution on ensuring respect for international law in the occupied Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem. The vote went against the state of Israel.

Sure, the only country that voted against the resolution and for Israel was the US and that matters a lot as even under socialist and slightly leftist Obama administration Israel continues to occupy high priority because of age-old Judeo-Christianity axis. Many countries, including Western ones, abstained from voting.

What was the reason behind the Modi-government voting against Israel? After all, the BJP does not fear much opposition back home within its support base in short-term as not a significant chunk among Muslims support the saffron party and there are many Hindus who would support India taking side of Israel. Moreover, Israel is slowly becoming the strategic partner of India and Palestinian people, other than being Arabs, do not matter much for Indian government.

But that is not how relationships among nations work. The fact is that Jews globally are very few in numbers and except in the US and Israel, they matter only in few other countries and definitely not in India. And Muslims globally are more numerous than Hindus and they are majority in more than 50 countries.

So, did the Modi-government calculate all this while voting for the resolution? These are normal calculations but for the non-BJP parties in India. For the BJP Hindu nationalism may imply supporting Israel against Arabs. Despite of that India voted against Israel as other than practical reasons there were theoretical reasons too for India voting against Israel. In addition, there should have been peer pressure on the Modi-government because except for some parts within the Western world, Israel has lost support among most of the nations of the globe.

I don't know fully though as to why India voted against Israel but I am dead sure that if person more rightist than Narendra Modi was India's Prime Minister even then his or her government would not have voted for Israel in the present context.

In fact, even the UK did not vote in favor of Israel as Tories might have worried about losing votes of Muslims in the UK in the upcoming general elections due there in the Summer next year without there being any measurable reaction from White Anglican population. Many other European countries should have ideological reasons too for voting against Israel or minimally abstaining away from the vote.

But then India would always find it hard to vote for Israel over such a complicated issue even if the Right had ruled for almost a decade at the Center. The reasons need not necessarily be the compulsions and constraints on foreign policy because of oil imports from the West Asia or the opinion of Indian Muslims or consequence for India over Kashmir.

The real reason is that despite of being labeled as anti-Muslims not too many leaders within the BJP and its allies would find themselves any closer to Israel than the previous UPA regimes' leaders did.

The BJP disliking of Muslims or call it their hate of them, does not go beyond the territories of the South Asia: in fact it saturates after a distance and becomes irrelevant asymptotically when it reaches the West Asia.

Despite of being historically-literate and historically-correct too, the fact remains that the saffron outfits seek friendly relationship with the majority of Islamic nations, except with the possible exceptions of Pakistan and Bangladesh. They just want majority of Islamic states to not interfere in what they would call as the internal matters of India: Kashmir and Hindu-Muslim conflict.

Also, while it may apparently appear obvious to many that vote in favor of Israel might have consolidated the support for the BJP within its support base inside India, however, such conclusions are hasty in nature and statistically they are wrong when considered over longer terms.

The BJP might have lost support of many centrist Hindus who in many constituencies voted for it in the last general elections without adding significant numbers among the rightist ones. But this is true only for longer terms as the fact remains that the BJP would not have faced much heat among its support base as of now over supporting Israel or minimally abstaining away from vote.

Now, in addition, there can be some repulsion for Israel too. After all, Israel is part of bigger West and is an advanced nation. What Indians in general like about Israel is, is its technological capabilities, particularly in defense, and its permanent no to Pakistan.

Sure, it is permanent no from Pakistan to Israel too. India can get a lot from Israel without ever worrying about Pakistan as long as the US does not object. Israel can skip even China but for that India has to cooperate somewhat with it. But off late China is having a very friendly investment-based relationship with Israel.

Moreover, except for certain cosmetics, Hinduism and Judaism are not at all interrelated. Sure, Islam is also completely different from Hinduism but the subcontinent Islam, with which the saffron leaders have maximum problems and with them many Muslim leaders too have great problems, have some similarity with Hinduism. One can call it the hypocrisy of politics but Hindus and Muslims of the subcontinent have irreconcilable differences amongst themselves.

To be frank despite of being on the Right and possibly being dubbed as anti-Muslims, the BJP would have always voted against Israel on its own if there was no Kashmir dispute and it did not have huge defense requirements from the West and this include Israel too.

The BJP looks for dissimilarity of Islam with Hinduism when it considers Pakistan and Bangladesh but outside the South Asian territories it looks for commonality. However, the BJP's real problem is with Indian Muslims and the former can be tolerant of even Pakistan and Bangladesh considering Muslims to be majority in these two states.

Nonetheless, a government is a government. It had the option of abstaining from vote but it did not opt for that. The basic reason should have been to show solidarity with Islam and share the sensitivity of the globe on this topic. It was a neat way to clean its image of it being dubbed as anti-Muslim in the world. Israel obviously for all valid reasons cannot cancel engagement with India or react negatively towards it because of the latter's vote in UNHRC in Geneva.

But let me reiterate that India has no strong disliking or liking of Israel. If India were a very dominant nation then all governments of all political spectrums would have minimally not taken stand in favor of Israel, most of the time, if not for all time. But then it is the self-interests, and not ideology, which presently mostly guide India's vote at various international forums.

Sure, India has its own compulsions not to take overt extreme side in Israel-Palestine dispute but ideologically, India, even under the BJP rule, has not too many reasons to support Israel on its own. This thing all should know, including the US and Israeli strategists.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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