No change in our policy on Palestine, says India

Israeli vehicles damaged by stones thrown by Palestinians near the village of Husan west of Bethlehem

Israeli vehicles damaged by stones thrown by Palestinians near the village of Husan west of Bethlehem

India reacted cautiously to US President Donald Trump's decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, asserting it would take an independent stand on the issue.

In a brief statement, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said in New Delhi, "India's position on Palestine is independent and consistent".

Donald Trump's declaration broke with decades of USA policy, set off a wave of clashes between Palestinians and Israeli forces, and drew sharp criticism from United States allies in the Middle East and beyond.Israel has long considered Jerusalem its capital - which it sees as the ancient capital of the Jewish people - but Palestine equally lay claim to the city. India's response to Mr. Trump's statement came even as the Palestinian Ambassador to India declared that his country is likely to host Prime Minister Narendra Modi in near future.

He clarified that the state of Palestine without east Jerusalem will not exist and will not be accepted.

Hours after Trump's announcement, the Narendra Modi-led government on Thursday said its position on Palestine is "consistent".

During his visit to Ramallah in October 2015, the then President Pranab Mukherjee had reiterated India's "principled support" to Palestinians' demand for East Jerusalem to be the capital of the State of Palestine. India maintains its embassy in Tel Aviv since 1992 when it established diplomatic ties with Israel.

Similar view were expressed when Modi visited Israel in July.

India's ambivalent position stood out not just because of New Delhi's traditional advocacy of the Palestinian cause but also in comparison to the sharp reactions Trump's decision has evoked both in the Arab world and elsewhere, including Russian Federation, the UK, France, Germany, China, the European Union and the UN.

The US move evoked sharp criticism not only from the Arab world but also from Europe.

In fact, India's ties with the Arab World gained in strength simultaneously with Israel during the last two decades, pointed out of the people quoted above.