• Saturday, December 09, 2023


Veteran India opposition leader says Modi government confused over Israel-Palestine issue

The veteran leader had criticised Modi over the Israel-Palestine war a few days earlier as well, saying it was “unfortunate that our prime minister (Narendra Modi) stood with Israel”.

Sharad Pawar (Photo by SAM PANTHAKY/AFP via Getty Images)

By: Shubham Ghosh

SHARAD Pawar, a major opposition leader in India, on Saturday (28) slammed the Narendra Modi government saying it was confused over the burning issue of Palestine. The 82-year-old chief of the Nationalist Congress Party, a prominent player in the politics of the western state of Maharashtra, also said that he had “never seen such confusion” in previous Indian governments and that New Delhi’s historical stance has been to support Palestine and not Israel.

A former defence minister of India, Pawar alleged that there were inconsistencies within the government and Modi expressed “solidarity” with Israel only for the country’s foreign ministry to say something different later.

Modi expressed support for Israel on two occasions in a span of a few days after Palestinian militant outfit Hamas launched coordinated attacks against Israel on October 7, killing several people. His reaction triggered a row and a few days after the prime minister expressed support for the Jewish state for the second time, India’s external affairs ministry came up with a balanced stance vis-a-vis Palestine and Israel, seeking a “sovereign, independent and viable” Palestine state coexisting peacefully with Israel.

Pawar, a member of Rajya Sabha or Upper House of the Indian parliament, criticised India’s alleged shift in policy towards the Palestine issue and said New Delhi has never supported the Israeli cause.

His remarks came when he was asked about his opinion on India abstaining from voting on a resolution in the United Nations General Assembly calling for a humanitarian truce between the two conflicting sides and sought aid access to the Gaza Strip which has been bombarded relentlessly by the Israeli forces.

This was not the first time Pawar has spoken against the Modi government’s response to the Israel-Hamas war. A few days after the war broke out, he said it was “unfortunate that our prime minister (Narendra Modi) stood with Israel”.

Taking the names of previous prime ministers, the veteran had said India always stood with “people who originally owned the land and houses there (Palestine)”.

Pawar’s remarks were criticised by a number of top leaders of Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.

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