The Hamas-Israel battle was referred to as “a very complex situation with many possibilities” by External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Saturday, citing India’s Middle East concerns. During the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit, the union minister told HT editor-in-chief R Sukumar that India’s approach is to continue with what he referred to as “the master plan” while reacting “side-by-side” to the developing circumstances.
“To clearly conclude, it is a very complex situation with many possibilities which are not fully apparent; possibilities, not in a good way,” he said.
But he said that Europe is still interested in the projected India-Middle East route despite the regional obstacles.
“In terms of the initiatives, there was enormous interest in IMEC. Because Europeans do see today the need to have more efficient, smoother logistical passage to India, given the fact that Europe will remain a major hub of the global economy and India will also grow in economic weight,” he stated.
“The difference between policy and debate — in a debate you pick a particular argument which you want to pick. In policy, there are many factors in play, often contradictory and not harmonious, so a balance has to be brought,” he added.
“We have no doubt and we have said it very clearly, what happened on October 7 was terrorism. It is not just a government view, if you ask any average Indian, terrorism is an issue which is very close to people’s heart, because very few countries and societies have suffered terrorism as much as we have. When Israel moved onto Gaza, we recognised whatever action is taken international humanitarian law has to be observed. When it comes to the issue of Palestine, we have been very clear that the only solution we see is a two-state solution. That state can only be arrived at after a direct dialogue between Israel and Palestine. So you have three sets of issues. From a policy perspective, you cannot believe so strongly in issue number 3 that you are willing to disregard 1 and 2…We just felt that the resolution that was moved did not get the three issues appropriately balanced out,” he continued.
India was thanked by the Israeli administration for abstaining from voting on the resolution. According to Eylon Levy, a spokesman for the Israeli government, the motion was absurd and India would have preferred to vote against it. Furthermore, he emphasized that there was no mention of Hamas in the resolution.
Prior to the vote, US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield stated, “As you’ll notice, two key words are missing in the resolution before us. The first is Hamas. It is outrageous that this resolution fails to name the perpetrators of the October 7th terrorist attacks: Hamas. Hamas. It is outrageous,” the envoy mentioned.
“This resolution makes no mention of the innocent people – including citizens of many of you in this room – many of you here today who have citizens who are being held hostage by Hamas and other terrorist groups,” Linda further added.
India was one of the 45 nations that refrained from voting on the resolution.