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India advocates for de-escalation in Gaza at BRICS+ meeting

Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar condemned the Hamas attack that started the current conflict in the Middle East while emphasizing a need for “lasting solutions“

Speaking at the BRICS+ summit on Tuesday, Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar reiterated New Delhi’s position on the conflict in Gaza, which has led to a humanitarian catastrophe involving thousands of civilian deaths and the massive displacement of people.

While he stated that there should be no compromise on terrorism, referring to Hamas’ October 7 attack, he underlined that the conflict is causing “immense human suffering, including to civilians, elderly, women and children,” and called for steps that would make “a difference on the ground,” paving the way for “lasting solutions” to the decades-old Israel-Palestine conflict.

We welcome all efforts of the international community towards de-escalation. Right now, there is an urgent need to ensure that humanitarian aid and relief effectively and safely reach the population of Gaza. It is also imperative that all hostages are released,” Jaishankar said at the virtual meeting. 

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Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar addresses the UN General Assembly in New York City, September 26, 2023.
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However, he also noted that “the immediate crisis” was triggered by Hamas’ “terrorist attack.” “Where terrorism itself is concerned, none of us should or can compromise with it. Hostage taking is equally unacceptable and cannot be condoned,” the top diplomat said.

At the South Africa-hosted summit, New Delhi also emphasized that the “concerns of the Palestinian people” must be addressed in a sustainable manner, which can only happen through a two-state solution “based on peaceful co-existence.” New Delhi has historically advocated the two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict.

Notably, after Hamas launched its attack on southern Israel, killing around 1,200 people and taking over 200 hostages, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was one of the first world leaders to unequivocally condemn the incident as an act of “terrorism.”

READ MORE: Why India is walking a tightrope on the Israel-Palestine conflict

In October, India abstained from a UN General Assembly vote on a resolution that urged for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire that the other BRICS+ members voted in favor of. However, Modi condemned the death of civilians in Israel’s retaliation against Gaza and assured that it would continue to provide aid to the Palestinian people.

Since the start of the conflict, India has sent 70 tons of humanitarian assistance, including 16.5 tons of medicine and medical supplies to Gaza; New Delhi also donates $5 million to Palestine each year through a UN agency.

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