India on Thursday expressed "deep concern" over the steep escalation of violence between Israel and Palestine and asked both sides to resume direct talks at the earliest and avoid taking actions that may threaten the security of the region.
"India is deeply concerned at the steep escalation of violence between Israel and Palestine, particularly, heavy air strikes in Gaza, resulting in tragic loss of civilian lives and heavy damage to property," the Spokesperson in the External Affairs Ministry said.
"At the same time, India is alarmed at the cross-border provocations resulting from rocket attacks against targets in parts of Israel. India calls upon both sides to exercise maximum restraint and avoid taking actions that may further exacerbate the situation, and threaten the peace and security of the region," he said.
At least 20 Palestinians were killed in fresh Israeli air strikes targeting over 300 Hamas positions, taking the death toll to 64 in three days of offensive, the deadliest in the region since November 2012.
The spokesperson further said that India remains firmly convinced that dialogue remains the only viable option that can effectively address the issues confronting the region and its people.
"We call upon both sides to resume direct talks at the earliest, in adherence to the obligations assumed by them under the peace process, for a comprehensive resolution of the Palestinian issue," he said.