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21 Nov, 2023 10:54

Modi to skip BRICS+ summit on Gaza

New Delhi’s position on the Israel-Hamas war is different from that of most of its partners in the grouping 
Modi to skip BRICS+ summit on Gaza

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will not be attending Tuesday’s virtual BRICS-Plus summit, which will largely be devoted to the Israel-Hamas war, Indian media reported on Tuesday.

Other commitments,” including election rallies, have been cited as the reasons for Modi’s absence at the event. India will be represented by Foreign Minister Subhramanyam Jaishankar.  

Countries in the BRICS-Plus grouping have largely denounced Israel’s bombing campaign in Gaza in retaliation for Hamas’ surprise attacks on October 7 and have called for a ceasefire. New Delhi, however, has adopted a stance closer to that of the US and other Western countries. 

In October, New Delhi abstained from a UN General Assembly vote on a resolution that urged for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in the Israel-Palestine conflict that the other BRICS-Plus members voted in favor of. India’s Foreign Ministry stated that its abstention reflected its “zero-tolerance policy on terrorism.” 

Modi was among the first world leaders to condemn Hamas’ attack on Israel, which he unequivocally termed an act of “terrorism.” Simultaneously, he expressed “shock” at a missile striking the Al-Ahli hospital in Gaza, resulting in the death of over 500 people, underscoring the imperative to safeguard civilian lives amid the conflict. More recently, during the second ‘Voice of Global South’ summit, Modi sought the Global South’s consensus on Gaza. 

Meanwhile, the Indian Ministry of External Affairs has reiterated New Delhi’s “long-standing position” on negotiating a two-state solution to resolve the conflict. 

Russian President Vladimir Putin, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres are expected to attend Tuesday’s summit, which will be hosted by South Africa, the current chair of the group. New BRICS members, including Saudi Arabia, Iran, Egypt, Ethiopia, Argentina, and the UAE, will also be in attendance.   

Meanwhile on Wednesday, Modi will be hosting the virtual G20 leaders’ summit as New Delhi’s presidency in the grouping ends next month. Russian President Vladimir Putin, who did not attend the G20 leaders’ summit hosted by New Delhi in September, is expected to participate. Notably, US President Joe Biden is likely to miss the event. According to Eric Garcetti, the US envoy in India, “with Thanksgiving around the corner, we are not sure whether he [Biden] would be able to take part in the virtual summit.”  

The November 22 summit will “take forward” key outcomes and action points from the September gathering and will “push for effective implementation of various G20 decisions,” the Indian Foreign Ministry said in a statement last week.

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