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Situation complex: Jaishankar on Hamas-Israel conflict

Source: PTI   -  Edited By: Hemant Waje
November 04, 2023 21:51 IST
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As the Israel-Hamas conflict intensifies, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Saturday described the situation as "very complex" even as he strongly justified India's recent decision to abstain on a United Nations General Assembly resolution calling for a humanitarian truce between the two sides.

IMAGE: A view of smoke rising from Gaza, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestinian group Hamas, as seen from southern Israel, November 4, 2023. Photograph: Evelyn Hockstein/Reuters

Jaishankar described the October 7 strikes on Israeli cities by Hamas as "terrorism" but at the same time asserted India's long-standing support for a negotiated two-state solution to the Palestine issue.

"I clearly conclude that it is a very complex situation with a lot of possibilities which are not fully apparent -- possibilities not in a good way," he said at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit.

Asked if the current crisis will impact initiatives under the I2U2 grouping and implementation of the ambitious India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor (IMEC) project, Jaishankar said it is too early to make any "definitive or even semi-definite conclusion".

"Certainly unanticipated problems, even of a serious nature can happen and we are seeing one right now. But I do not think because something has happened and that if you have a larger goal and a larger plan that you immediately start rethinking and revising that," he said.


"I think you keep your master plan going. You do the work. You also side-by-side respond to whatever else has happened out there," he said.

The external affairs minister also justified New Delhi's decision to abstain on the UN General Assembly resolution on the Hamas-Israel conflict.

"We have a very clear policy on terrorism. We have no doubt and we have said this very very clearly that what happened on October 7 was terrorism. It is not just a government view," he said.

"If you ask the average Indian, terrorism is an issue which is very close to people's heart because very few countries or societies suffer as much as we have from terrorism," he added.

"When further developments happened and Israelis moved on to Gaza, I think we also recognised as a matter of principle that whatever action is taken, international humanitarian law must be observed," he said.

The UN General Assembly last week adopted the resolution for an immediate, durable and sustained humanitarian truce between Israeli forces and Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

"When it comes to the issue of Palestine, again we have been very clear that the only solution that we see is a two-state solution. (That) is of an independent viable Palestine state. That state can only be arrived at through direct dialogue between Palestinians and Israel," he said.

"So you have really now three sets of issues. From a policy perspective, you cannot say I believe strongly on issue number three and that I am willing to disregard issue number one and two, or I believe two, so will disregard one," he said.

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Source: PTI  -  Edited By: Hemant Waje© Copyright 2024 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.
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