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13 Oct, 2023 09:57

Modi calls out terrorism as New Delhi reiterates its position on Israel-Palestine

Last weekend, the Indian PM offered 'solidarity with Israel at this difficult hour'
Modi calls out terrorism as New Delhi reiterates its position on Israel-Palestine

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi encouraged national legislatures worldwide to work together to fight terrorism on Friday.

In his opening remarks at the 9th G20 Parliamentary Speakers’ Summit hosted by New Delhi over the next two days, Modi warned that conflicts and confrontations faced by the world today do not benefit anyone and that a “divided world cannot give solutions for challenges before humanity.

India has been facing cross-border terrorism for many years now. Around 20 years ago, terrorists targeted our parliament when the session was going on. The world is also realizing how big a challenge terrorism is for the globe,” the Indian prime minister pointed out. “Parliaments in the world and their representatives have to think how to work together in this fight against terrorism." 

He said now is the time for “peace and brotherhood” and “development and welfare of all.

Modi’s remarks came against the backdrop of violent attacks on Israeli towns by the Palestinian militant group Hamas over the weekend, which triggered an escalation in the region not seen in decades, claiming over 2,800 lives on both sides of the conflict. 

One day before the prime minister’s latest comments, New Delhi had reiterated its stand on the Israel-Palestine issue. On Thursday, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi told reporters, “Our policy in this regard has been long-standing and consistent. India has always advocated the resumption of direct negotiations towards establishing a sovereign, independent, and viable state of Palestine, living within secure and recognized borders side by side at peace with Israel. And I think that position remains the same.”

However, Bagchi also emphasized a “universal obligation to observe international humanitarian law,” noting that there is “also a global responsibility to fight the menace of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations."

New Delhi clarified its stance on this topic after Modi condemned the terrorist attacks on Israel on October 7, when Hamas militants launched their so-called ‘Al-Aqsa Flood’ operation, firing missiles from Gaza towards Israel and storming Israeli settlements, killing hundreds of civilians and taking dozens as hostages. 

Deeply shocked by the news of terrorist attacks in Israel,” the Indian prime minister posted on X (formerly Twitter). “Our thoughts and prayers are with the innocent victims and their families. We stand in solidarity with Israel at this difficult hour.” Later, Modi condemned “terrorism in all its forms and manifestations” during a phone call with his Israeli counterpart, Benjamin Netanyahu, who called several world leaders as Israel launched a counteroffensive. 

New Delhi’s “conspicuous reference” to international humanitarian law is “a significant indicator of India’s evolving stance on the issue,” the Economic Times noted on Friday. “India has chosen not to advocate for an immediate ceasefire, treading cautiously to avoid appearing judgmental about Israel’s retaliatory measures against Hamas, taking into consideration India’s own encounters with cross-border terrorism,” the outlet suggested.

Israel’s retaliation on Gaza, a narrow stretch of land between Israel and Egypt that has been governed by Hamas since 2007, has led to massive civilian casualties. On Thursday, the Palestinian Health Ministry stated that over 1,400 people had been killed in the strikes, including 447 children. Israel has announced “a complete siege” of Gaza, cutting the enclave’s 2.4 million population off from food, water, fuel, medicine, and electricity.