In their attempt to make better relation with Arab countries India has asked Israel to move out of Arab lands in Palestine. For the last two decades, India's stated position on the Israel-Palestine conflict put it in an uncomfortable situation. New Delhi has wanted to get closer to Israel, after establishing official relations with the country only in 1992, but has been afraid of tilting too far in that direction. The first sign that it might be doing so, by abstaining from a vote against Israel at the United Nations Human Rights Council last year, demonstrated exactly why: It was immediately seen as India giving up the Palestinian cause in return for Israeli arms. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has nevertheless pushed ahead with attempts to get closer to Tel Aviv. President Pranab Mukherjee traveled to Israel and Palestine last year and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has just returned from a visit to lay the groundwork for Modi himself to go later this year. As that process has continued, India's newfound proximity to Israel might be becoming a strength rather than a weakness, even for New Delhi's Arab allies. The Ministry of External Affairs' Secretary (East) Anil Wadhwa explained India's approach in a speech at the annual West Asia conference on January 22. "India’s policy in the region remains rooted in our traditional long-standing ties with the region and is non-prescriptive and non-judgmental," Wadhwa said. "[But] it needs to be understood that 'old order neutrality' is not construed as absence of decision-making or political passivity. In fact, we are more engaged in the region than in the past." "India has been asked to play a more active role in the Middle East but we need to assess this based on our strategic leverages and a realistic consideration of our strengths and limitations. We would not wish to create parallel mechanisms that will affect our bilateral relations... India remains cautious that our approach towards the region should not be misconstrued as being partisan or sectarian." Two days later, the Arab-India Cooperation forum in Bahrain, attended by Swaraj as well as ministers from across the Arab league, resulted in a "Manama Declaration" spelling out the ministerial meeting's conclusions. The declaration covers lots of ground, from condemning the attacks against the Saudi Arabian embassy in Tehran to rejecting the association of terror with any religion, culture or ethnic group. It also makes more than a few references to Israel. "Calling on Israel to end its occupation of the Palestinian "Arab" territories it seized in 1967 and dismantle all the settlements built there including the settlements erected in the occupied East Jerusalem on the basis that, according to the international Law, they are illegal and illegitimate," the declaration says. "In this context, the Arab side values the Indian position in support of the Palestinian cause, the financial support it pledged to offer during the Cairo Conference in 2014, the role it plays in the development and capacity building in the occupied Palestinian territories." The Secretary General of the Arab League specifically said he hoped India would play a role in supporting the Arab states in the Palestinian cause. Swaraj, however, didn't make any reference to Israel in her speech at the Arab-India Cooperation Forum, and instead only pointed out the various visits to Palestine by Indian leaders in the last year. Most of this is standard stuff: Reaffirm India's commitment to the Palestinian cause on paper, don't actually talk about it much while continuing to deepen ties with Israel. Except this might not be an awkward formation for much longer. A report by Devirupa Mitra in the New Indian Express suggests that the Palestinian side wants to use India's "supposed closeness" to Israel in pushing for further talk on a proposed two-state solution. Moreover, that report mentions that Russia and China now want India to come on board with a plan to have the BRICS grouping play an active role in solving the Israel-Palestine conflict. "It is learned that China’s special envoy for Middle East issues, Gong Xiaosheng held discussions with senior MEA officials on this proposal. Sources said that the proposal was for BRICS to take on a role similar to that of the so-called Quartet – European Union, UN, Russia and US, by setting up a group of secretary-level officers as a first step," the New Indian Express report said. This would, of course, take India into an entirely new direction. New Delhi has always rejected third-party involvement over the Kashmir issue, prompting it to shy away from taking part in similar interventions anywhere else. It has been a part of multilateral fora, bowing to Russian pressure to join the Geneva II conference to discuss Syria, for example, and the Israel-Palestine is unique enough to not be seen as setting any sort of precedent.