India backs Palestinians at BRICS+ summit on Israel-Hamas conflict

| Updated: 22 November, 2023 1:38 pm IST

NEW DELHI: In a notable departure from its usual stance, India voiced its support for Palestinians during the BRICS+ virtual summit on November 21, convened to address the ongoing Israel-Palestine conflict. Prime Minister Narendra Modi opted to skip the summit due to a busy schedule involving elections and rallies in Rajasthan, and instead, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar represented India at the event. The summit brought together key leaders, including Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

READ MORE: BRICS virtual summit on Israel-Hamas war hosted by SA; Jaishankar to represent India – THE NEW INDIAN

India’s absence from the UN General Assembly (UNGA) vote on a resolution advocating a ceasefire and its decision not to explicitly call for an Israeli ceasefire set it apart from other BRICS members. The extraordinary joint meeting, titled ‘Extraordinary Joint Meeting on the Middle East Situation,’ was convened by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, and also attended by Brazilian President Lula Da Silva.

Jaishankar, delivering India’s remarks, expressed support for Palestinians, stated, “We believe 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.”

Highlighting India’s ongoing support for the socio-economic welfare of the Palestinian people, Jaishankar emphasised the country’s development partnership and assistance provided through the UN. India contributes $5 million annually to the UN Relief and Welfare Agency’s (UNRWA) role.

In response to the crisis in Gaza, India took concrete action by sending 70 tonnes of humanitarian assistance, including 16.5 tonnes of medicines and medical supplies, facilitated by Egypt.

Addressing the gravity of the Israel-Hamas conflict, Jaishankar stated, “The ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict in Gaza is causing immense human suffering, including to civilians, elderly, women, and children.” He called for de-escalation efforts and urged the international community to ensure that humanitarian aid reaches the population of Gaza effectively and safely. India also emphasised the release of hostages and condemned the large-scale civilian casualties and humanitarian crisis.

Highlighting Prime Minister Modi’s engagement with regional and global leaders, Jaishankar stressed the need for peace and meaningful negotiations. He concluded, “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.”

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