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India balances condemnation of Hamas terror attack on Israel with call for respecting international humanitarian law

PM Minister Narendra Modi (File Photo)

Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi on Thursday said India has strongly condemned the “horrific” terrorist attack on Israel and believes the international community must combat terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.
“We have strongly condemned the horrific terrorist attack on Israel. The international community must stand together in combating terrorism in all its forms and manifestations…” Bagchi said during the MEA weekly briefing on Thursday.
Bagchi further said: “There was also the issue of Palestine and on that, we have reiterated our position in favour of direct negotiations for establishing a two-state solution. We have also expressed our concern at the civilian casualties and the humanitarian situation. We would urge the strict observance of international humanitarian law…”
He said “You would have seen the comments, the tweets as well as statement from Prime Minister Narendra Modi” on the situation in Israel.
PM Modi on Wednesday condoled the loss of lives in an explosion at a hospital in Gaza, saying he was “deeply shocked” by the incident.
Also expressing concern over the mounting civilian casualties in the ongoing Israel-Hamas war, the PM said that those behind such deaths should be “held responsible”.

Taking to his official handle on X, PM Modi posted, “Deeply shocked at the tragic loss of lives at the Al Ahli Hospital in Gaza. Our heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims, and prayers for speedy recovery of those injured. Civilian casualties in the ongoing conflict are a matter of serious and continuing concern. Those involved should be held responsible.”
An explosion at the hospital in Gaza City on Tuesday claimed the lives of hundreds of people.
Earlier, Bagchi said India sees the Hamas attack on Israel as “a terrorist attack” and that it has always advocated the resumption of direct negotiations towards establishing a sovereign, independent and viable state of Palestine that lives side by side at peace with Israel.

Bagchi also said that there is a universal obligation to observe international humanitarian law and the need to fight terrorism.
“Designation of terrorist organisation under Indian law is a legal matter. I would refer you to the relevant authorities. I think we have been very clear that we see this as a terrorist attack. On designation part (concerned) authorities are best placed to respond to it,” Bagchi said answering queries about Hamas’ attack on Israel.
The spokesperson said India’s position concerning the Palestine issue has been “longstanding 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 recognised borders side by side at peace with Israel. That position remains the same,” he said.
India recently launched ‘Operation Ajay’ to bring back its citizens stuck in the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas.
“Launching #OperationAjay to facilitate the return from Israel of our citizens who wish to return. Special charter flights and other arrangements are being put in place. Fully committed to the safety and well-being of our nationals abroad,” External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar posted on X.

Also Read: Did the US lose the battle-of- hearts and minds in the Middle East after the horrific hospital bombing in Gaza?