India came out in all out support for a Palestinian bid for membership of the United Nations as a Security Council committee met behind closed doors to begin considering its application.
Underscoring New Delhi's support of the Palestinians' bid, India's Permanent Representative Hardeep Singh Puri on Friday recalled that his country was the first non-Arab state to grant recognition of a Palestinian state when it did so in 1988.
Puri said the committee on the admission of new states "should report to the Security Council that the Palestinian application for membership be recommended to the General Assembly."
The Palestinians' membership application "is not incompatible with, nor does it exclude, direct negotiations between the parties to resolve the final status issues," he said.
Addressing the UN General Assembly Sep 24, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had said, "India is steadfast in its support for the Palestinian people's struggle for a sovereign, independent, viable and united state of Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital, living within secure and recognized borders side by side and at peace with Israel.
"We look forward to welcoming Palestine as an equal member of the United Nations."
The Security Council committee meeting came exactly one week after Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas made a direct plea at the UN for membership sidestepping peace negotiating efforts that have foundered for nearly two decades.
In order for a state to become a UN member, its application must be recommended by the Security Council and then approved by the General Assembly by a two-thirds vote of its 193 members.
The panel agreed to meet again next week. But analysts say the statehood bid is bound to fail, because the United States has threatened to use its veto power on the Security Council to block it.