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India takes a strong position on terrorism because it is a victim, Jaishankar says

New Delhi: India takes a strong position on the issue of terrorism as it is a victim of the menace, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said on Sunday, amid a political slugfest over India’s abstention on a United Nations resolution seeking a humanitarian truce between Hamas and Israel.

“We take a strong position on terrorism because we are big victims of terrorism,” Jaishankar said at an event in New Delhi. “We will have no credibility if we say when terrorism affects us, it is very serious, but when it happens to somebody else, that is not so serious,” he said, adding: “We have to have a consistent position.”

He made the comment after India refrained from voting at the United Nations General Assembly in favour of a resolution that called for a humanitarian truce in the Gaza Strip.

India, however, abstained from voting on the resolution as it did not include any explicit condemnation of the terrorist attacks carried out by Hamas on Israel on October 7.

Though the Congress and the leftist parties criticised the government for abstaining from voting on the resolution, the ruling BJP argued that India would never be on the side of terrorism.

The resolution was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly with 120 nations voting in favour of it. It called for an “immediate, durable and sustained humanitarian truce leading to a cessation of hostilities”. Israel and the United States are among the 14 nations that voted against it. India and 44 other nations, including Germany, Canada and the United Kingdom, abstained from voting on the resolution, which was put forward by Jordan on behalf of the Arab Group, with Russia, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates co-sponsoring it. France, Iran and China are among the nations, which voted in favour of it.

Hamas terrorists killed 1400 people in southern Israel on October 7 and took 229 hostages. The UN quoted the Hamas-run administration’s Ministry of Health to report that more than 6,546 people were killed in retaliatory offensives by Israel and that the deceased included 2,704 children, 1,584 women and 364 elderly persons. Besides, 17,439 people have been injured. “This is in addition to 1,600 reported missing, presumably under the rubble of destroyed buildings, including 900 children,” according to the latest situation report released by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East a.k.a. UNRWA. Israel has also threatened to launch a ground offensive into Gaza and ordered all civilians and UN aid workers to leave areas north of Wadi Gaza and move towards the south.

The UNGA resolution, which New Delhi chose not to vote for, also called for the “immediate and unconditional release of all civilians who are being illegally held captive”. It emphasised the need for all parties to the conflict to immediately and fully comply with their obligations under international law and to protect the civilians “in accordance with international humanitarian law and international human rights law”.

India voted in favour of an amendment proposed by Canada to include in the resolution condemnation of Hamas for the October 7 attacks in Israel. The amendment got 88 votes, but not the support of the requisite two-thirds of the 193 member nations of the UN and hence could not be adopted by the General Assembly.

(Published 29 October 2023, 18:26 IST)

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