The Diplomat magazine, based in Washington, published a lengthy report by Bangladeshi writer Janatwal Biel explaining India's changing position on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and the shift from strong support for the Palestinian right to strong support for Israel.

India voted in 1947 against the partition of Palestine in the United Nations General Assembly, was the first non-Arab country to recognize the PLO as the sole and legitimate representative of the Palestinian people in 1974, and was one of the first countries to recognize the State of Palestine in 1988.

When India recognized the creation of Israel in 1950, it did not establish diplomatic relations with it until 1992, and previous Indian governments mostly maintained quiet relations with Israel.

Strong support for Israel

But on Oct. 27, India took a much stronger pro-Israel stance than usual during Israeli-Palestinian conflicts, and was among the countries that opposed a UN resolution calling for a "humanitarian truce" in Gaza.

Just a few hours after Hamas launched its attack on Israel on the seventh of last month, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was one of the first world leaders to condemn the attack.

Michael Kugelman, director of the South Asia Institute at the Wilson think tank in Washington, said, "India views the current conflict as a counterterrorism war, views the Israeli assault on Gaza as a counterterrorism operation, and believes that counterterrorism operations should not stop for the sake of human truces."

Since the beginning of the current war, pro-Israel marches have become a regular occurrence in India, while Palestinian solidarity has consistently been met with a crackdown, with the government targeting pro-Palestine protesters as well.

He pointed out that the online accounts from India are among the main distributors of false anti-Palestinian news on social networking sites, such as Instagram, Facebook and X.

Reasons for change

The author then went on to explain why India's policy toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has changed, beginning with the emergence of Hindu nationalism in India, the current government's electoral "agenda," its efforts to maintain good relations with the United States at all costs, and the ultimate goal of Hindu nationalists: establishing permanent Hindu sovereignty over Muslims.

He added that when New Delhi wanted to join the global economy and get closer to the United States, it began to get closer to Israel, and under Narendra Modi, the relationship accelerated to the point of a strategic relationship, and the Modi government continued to promote that supporting Israel would help India return to a Hindu country and turn India into a global power.

Many support justice and self-determination for Palestinians, but in the current climate in India, it is difficult to show this support publicly, agreed by Ashok Swain, professor and head of the Department of Peace and Conflict Research at Uppsala University in Sweden.

The rise of Hindu nationalism

Swain was quoted as saying that the change in India's policy was caused by the rise of Hindu nationalism, and since Indian media are largely influenced by the Hindu nationalist government, they tend to adopt a more hostile rhetoric towards Palestine.

Swain, who serves as UNESCO's head of international water cooperation, said he believed the majority of Indians still supported the Palestinian struggle for independence.

"The Modi government believes that as long as the war in Gaza continues, media attention will be directed towards condemning Hamas, which sees it as an opportunity to further fuel 'Islamophobia' within Indian society," he said.

Hostility to Islam

Pamela Filipuz, a prominent Delhi-based journalist and researcher, has concluded that the Indian government believes it can benefit from portraying Hamas as a "representative of Islamic terrorism" and its support for Israel as part of its anti-Islamic political orientation, Biel said, stressing that India "sees its relationship with Israel and the United States as its primary priority," which is why its government's current pro-Israel stance is behind it.

Modi's government believes its pro-Israel stance is helping to ease Western concerns about its close ties with Russia in relation to the Ukraine war. Because of deteriorating relations with Canada, Modi is seeking Biden's support to avoid public rebukes from the West over the killing of a Sikh separatist on Canadian soil.

Hindu nationalism and Zionism

The author also conveyed the view of Swain and others that Zionism and Hindu nationalism have much in common. According to them, both "ideologies" share many similarities, including their goals being expansionist and exclusionary.

Both movements describe India and Israel as originally Hindu and Jewish, respectively, but "tainted" by outsiders, or specifically Muslims, and their ambition now is to restore them to their former glory as Hindu and Jewish states, respectively.