New Delhi, Dec 8 (PTI) India on Friday said it remains concerned over the deteriorating security situation arising out of the Hamas-Israel conflict and called for “restraint and de-escalation” while emphasising on a peaceful resolution of the conflict through “dialogue and diplomacy”.
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar informed the Lok Sabha that India strongly condemned the October 7 terror attack on Israel and also the loss of civilian lives in the ongoing conflict.
“We remain concerned at the deteriorating security situation and have called for restraint, de-escalation and emphasised peaceful resolution of the conflict through dialogue and diplomacy,” he said in a written reply to a question.
“We welcome the humanitarian pauses and the release of hostages,” he added.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Jaishankar have spoken to several leaders in the region and across the world, including the president and prime minister of Israel and the Palestinian president.
“India has also strongly taken up the ongoing situation in Gaza at multilateral fora such as G20, BRICS and Voice of Global South Summit and reiterated its stance,” Jaishankar said.
He said 1,309 Indian nationals have returned to the country in six special flights operated under “Operation Ajay” from Israel and that New Delhi has also facilitated the return of one Indian national from the Gaza Strip.
To a separate question on India’s abstention on a resolution on the conflict at the United Nations, the external affairs minister said New Delhi’s policy towards Palestine has been long standing.
“We have always supported a negotiated two-State solution, towards establishment of a sovereign, independent and viable State of Palestine within secure and recognised borders, living side by side in peace with Israel,” he said.
Separately, Minister of State for External Affairs Meenakshi Lekhi did not give a direct reply when asked whether India will designate Hamas as a terrorist outfit, as sought by Israel.
“Designation of an organisation as terrorist is covered under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and declaring any organisation as terrorist is considered as per the provisions of the Act by the relevant government departments,” she said.
To another question, Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan said there were 12 Indian nationals in Palestine, of whom one requested evacuation and her return to India last month was facilitated by New Delhi.
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