Imperative hostages are released, says Jaishankar

Expressing concern over civilian casualties, Jaishankar said India strongly condemns any death of civilians…reports Asian Lite News

Noting that the Israel-Hamas conflict in Gaza is causing immense human suffering, India said on Tuesday that it welcomed all efforts of the international community towards de-escalation while emphasising that all hostages should be released and international humanitarian law should be observed.

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, who participated in a virtual extraordinary meeting on the West Asia situation of leaders of BRICS countries, said that immediate crisis was triggered by the attack of October 7 on Israel and that there should not be compromise with terrorism.

“The ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict in Gaza is causing immense human suffering, including to civilians, elderly, women and children. 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,” Jaishankar said.

“It is also imperative that all hostages are released. We believe that there is a universal obligation to observe international humanitarian law,” he added.

Expressing concern over civilian casualties, Jaishankar said India strongly condemns any death of civilians.

“We are all aware that the immediate crisis was triggered by the attack of 7th October. Hostage-taking is equally unacceptable and cannot be condoned. Subsequent developments have deepened our concern even more as we witness large-scale civilian casualties and a humanitarian crisis. We strongly condemn any death of civilians,” he said.

He thanked South African President Cyril Ramaphosa for convening this extraordinary meeting. Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin also addressed the meeting.

“I speak for Prime Minister Narendra Modi who could not join us today. We are gathered to discuss the deeply concerning situation in the Middle East, with a particular focus on Gaza.

South Africa has rightly taken the initiative to convene the BRICS, and also to include those who would be part of the group in due course. I convey Prime Minister Modi’s greetings to all the leaders, virtually present,” Jaishankar said.

The minister said that along with the need for restraint and immediate humanitarian support, India also emphasizes peaceful resolution of conflicts through dialogue and diplomacy.

“Prime Minister Modi has spoken to several leaders in the region and across the world in this context. He has highlighted the need to create conditions for peace and restart direct and meaningful peace negotiations.”

He said India believes that the concerns of the Palestinian people must be addressed in a “serious and sustainable manner”.

“This can only happen with a two-State solution that is based on peaceful co-existence. We have been consistently supportive of international efforts towards this end.”

Jaishankar said international community is today facing a very complex situation that has many dimensions.

“We have to address them all; and yet, have to prioritize. Our endeavour should be to both make a difference on the ground immediately while also creating conditions for lasting solutions. This exchange of views can be helpful in that regard and I thank South Africa once again for gathering us all at this difficult time.”

The minister said that over the years, India has supported the socio-economic welfare of the Palestinian people and strengthening of their national institutions.

“Our development partnership is geared towards these objectives. We continue to provide assistance both bilaterally and through the UN. Our economic assistance to Palestine, developmental projects there and financial support to Palestinian Authority reflect our position. India remains supportive of the UN Relief and Welfare Agency’s (UNRWA) role and have been contributing $5 million annually.”

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