The repercussions of the Israel-Palestine war are starting to reverberate all over the world. This conflict has divided the world into two groups. The situation in India is no different. Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu on the phone and conveyed the message that India stands firmly on the side of Israel in this war. However, some organisations and parties in the country have taken the side of Palestine. Nationalist Congress Party leader Sharad Pawar has also taken a stand in favour of Palestine, which has snowballed into a controversy.
Just a few days back, at an event, he told NCP (Sharad Pawar group) workers that the land where the war is going on belongs to the Palestinian people. “There was encroachment and the country of Israel emerged. I don’t want to go deep into it. But from India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, then Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi and Atal Bihari Vajpayee, all had a role to play in helping Palestine. Unfortunately, the Prime Minister of our country (Narendra Modi) has sided with Israel. In doing so, they have ignored Palestine, the original owner of that land. Whatever their role may be, the NCP is very much clear on this,” he said.
Sharad Pawar’s comments have drawn criticism from Bharatiya Janata Party leaders. Union commerce minister Piyush Goyal challenged Sharad Pawar over his remarks on social media site X.
It is very disturbing when a senior leader like @PawarSpeaks ji makes preposterous statements on India’s stand on a terror attack in Israel. The menace of terrorism has to be condemned in all forms, in any part of the world. It is a pity that a person who has been India’s Defence…— Piyush Goyal (@PiyushGoyal) October 18, 2023
Political analyst Abhay Deshpande has a different view on why Pawar made the statement that has triggered a controversy. “Sharad Pawar with his statement on the Palestine and Israel war again reminded the central government of what stand was taken by all the Prime Ministers of India before PM Modi. Also, there is an Islamic angle involved, the way the clips of this war emerged, and right-wing parties started taking advantage of that by spreading their narrative. Hence, Pawar must have made that comment considering the communal angle, so that there are no repercussions of that war in our country,” he said.
Maharashtra deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis also took to X to counter Pawar’s comments.
India has never changed its position on the Israel-Palestine dispute.However, at the same time, India has been consistently against & has always strongly opposed terrorism in any form and against anyone.When the entire world has condemned the killing of innocent people in…— Devendra Fadnavis (@Dev_Fadnavis) October 18, 2023
Speaking to News18, senior journalist Pratap Asbe said, “Sharad Pawar has always taken a pro-Palestine stand; that’s his political stance. Pawar was the first to send a group of farmers from Maharashtra to Israel to learn the modern technology of farming and how that can be implemented in the state. But since his Congress days, he had taken that stand. And talking about his statement in favour of Palestine, he has reminded this government of where our earlier Prime Ministers stood on this issue.”