India outlines stance on Israel-Hamas conflict at UN, condemns terrorism, civilian deaths, reiterates two-state solution

Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations, Ruchira Kamboj addressing the United Nations General Assembly on January 9, 2024, in New York. PHOTO: UN Live TV

India was among the 54 Member-States that participated in a plenary meeting convened by the President of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), to debate on agenda item 63, “Use of the Veto: Special Report of the Security Council” at the General Assembly on January 9, 2024, in New York.

The members debated the issue of casting of the veto by the United States, a permanent member of the UN Security Council, during the Council’s 9520th meeting that took place on December 22, 2023, under the title, “The situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question.”

On December 22nd, the Council – which adopted resolution 2720 after days of intense negotiations – called for “urgent and extended humanitarian pauses and corridors throughout the Gaza Strip,” while expressing “deep concern at the dire and rapidly deteriorating humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip, and its grave impact on the civilian population underlining the urgent need for full, rapid, safe, and unhindered humanitarian access…”

Both the United States and Russia abstained, while the other 13 members of the Council voted in favor of the 2720 resolution, which called for “urgent and extended humanitarian pauses” in Gaza.

Taking note of the Council’s resolution 2720, which endeavored to improve humanitarian assistance in Gaza, India’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ruchira Kamboj, commended the United Arab Emirates for spearheading the resolution within the Council.

Acknowledging that the Israel-Hamas conflict has “led to a large-scale loss of civilian lives, especially women and children,” resulting in a humanitarian crisis, Kamboj “strongly condemned the death of civilians,” calling it “unacceptable.”

“At the same time, we are aware that the immediate trigger were the terror attacks in Israel on seventh of October, which was shocking and deserve our unequivocal condemnation,” said Kamboj while emphasizing India, through its zero-tolerance approach, strongly condemns terrorism and hostage taking and demands immediate and unconditional release of those taken hostage.

She went on to say that India’s leadership maintains regular communication with leaders in the region, including those of Israel and Palestine. India’s perspectives have also been expressed in various international forums such as the G20, BRICS, and at the Voice of the Global South Summit in November 2023, reaffirming its enduring and fundamental stance on the matter.

While maintaining that India has advocated “for continued humanitarian aid for the affected population,” Kamboj hoped that the Council’s resolution 2720 could contribute to improving support for humanitarian aid efforts.

“I will also remind this assembly that India has so far provided 70 tons of humanitarian aid, including 16.5 tons of medicine and medical supplies in two tranches to the people of Palestine,” she said. “We’ve also provided $5 million, including $2.5 million we provided in end December 2023 to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, which will go to support the agency’s core programs and services including education, health care, relief in social services provided to Palestinian refugees.”

India’s message is “clear and consistent” on the Israel-Hamas conflict, Kamboj said, calling for mitigating escalation and  ensuring uninterrupted humanitarian assistance as key to an early return to peace and stability. She also said that the sole path forward to resolving the conflict is only through “dialogue and diplomacy.”

She reiterated India’s stand, saying, “We firmly believe that only a two-state solution achieved through direct and meaningful negotiations between both sides on final status issues will deliver an enduring peace that the people of Israel and Palestine desire and deserve.”

Before the Council voted on the resolution, Permanent Representative of Russia to the United Nations, Vassily Nebenzia, even proposed an oral amendment to include an old paragraph from the original draft urging “urgent suspension of hostilities.” However, the amendment was vetoed by US.

Ten countries including Brazil, China, Ecuador, France, Gabon, Ghana, Malta, Mozambique, Russian Federation, and the United Arab Emirates voted in favor of the Russian amendment, and four countries including Albania, Japan, Switzerland, and United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland abstained.

Previously, US also vetoed two other Security Council resolutions related to Gaza. On December 8, it vetoed a resolution, demanding an immediate humanitarian cease-fire, where the UK abstained. On October 18, another resolution, calling for humanitarian pauses, was also vetoed by US where Russia and the UK abstained.



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