While Arab and Muslim leaders were calling for blood on the streets with ‘new Intifada’ and ‘days of rage’, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other EU leaders were lining up to join the chorus to condemn President Donald Trump for daring to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, leading Indian politicians such as Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s nationalist BJP party called the government follow US President’s example and move the country’s embassy to Jerusalem.

“Israel has international recognition of a part of Jerusalem as its territory, hence India should shift its embassy to this part of the city,” senior Indian politician Dr. Subramanian Swamy wrote on Twitter. Former Commerce Minister and one-time Harvard professor, Dr. Swamy, is regarded as one of the chief architects of India’s economic liberalization that began three decades ago. The sentiment was echoed by another senior BJP leader and eminent journalist Tarun Vijay, who expressed his hopes that the Indian embassy will soon move to the “right place” in Jerusalem.

Indian TV network Republic reported Dr. Swamy’s statement:

Senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Subramanian Swamy on Wednesday called for shifting of India’s embassy in Israel to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv.

Taking to Twitter, the BJP MP said, “Israel has international recognition of a part of Jerusalem as its territory, hence India should shift its embassy to this part of the city.”

India’s Foreign Ministry refrained from joining European leaders and the EU in condemning Trump’s decision. “India’s position on Palestine is independent and consistent,” said Foreign Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar. “It is shaped by our views and interests, and not determined by any third country.” That may not sound like a thunderous approval, but for a country that for decades backed every single Arab-sponsored anti-Israel resolution at the UN — under its former left-wing governments, this indeed is a major policy shift.

Long-time parliamentarian Tarun Vijay, who until recently served on India’s powerful parliamentary committees on Defense and Foreign Policy, expressed his support for US President’s move on Twitter writing: We Indians “share your joy and the joy of all Jewish people in India and abroad”.

The move was welcomed by Indian grassroots groups and social media users as well:

Trump’s announcement comes at a time when Israel-India relations are at an all time high. Earlier this year, Prime Minister Modi visited Israel —  the first ever by a sitting Indian head of the government. Next month, Prime Minister Netanyahu is expected to tour India. During his July visit, Prime Minister Modi signed a series of agreements boosting bilateral cooperation in the areas of agriculture, water resources, renewable energies and technology. Prime Minister Netanyahu’s visit will cement those bilateral bonds even further.

[Cover image via YouTube]


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