National

Blinken By His Side, Jaishankar Speaks On Israel-Gaza War; Offers 'Smart' Reply To Russia Question | Watch

The minister of external affairs called the October 7 attacks on Israeli cities "terrorism," but he also mentioned Tel Aviv's response and stated that Israel has a duty to uphold humanitarian law.

AP
Security Conference In Munich | Photo: AP
info_icon

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar stated on Saturday that while India has long advocated for a two-state solution to the Palestine issue, more nations are now backing it and considering it to be "more urgent" than before.  He said this at a Q&A session at a security conference in Munich, Germany where German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken were present.

The minister of external affairs called the October 7 attacks on Israeli cities "terrorism," but he also mentioned Tel Aviv's response and stated that Israel has a duty to uphold humanitarian law. Jaishankar provided an explanation of New Delhi's stance on the dispute by stating that it has various aspects, which may be broadly categorised into four points.

"Number one -- we must be clear that what happened on October 7 was terrorism; no caveats, no justification, no explanation. It was terrorism," he said.

"Number two, as Israel responds, it is important that Israel should have been very mindful of civilian casualties. It has an international obligation to observe humanitarian law," Jaishankar said.

Mentioning point number three, he said the return of hostages today is imperative.

"Number four -- There is a need for a humanitarian corridor, a sustainable humanitarian corridor to provide relief. And eventually, there has to be a permanent fix, a long-term fix. Otherwise, we are going to see a recurrence," he said.

Israel has been carrying out its military campaign in Gaza as part of its retaliation for Hamas' unprecedented October 7 attack on Israeli cities. Israel’s attacks on Gaza have killed at least 28,858 Palestinians and wounded 68,667 since October 7. The death toll in Israel from the October 7 Hamas-led attacks stands at 1,139.

Regarding India's choice to keep purchasing Russian oil following the invasion of Ukraine - The moderator of the conversation with the theme "Growing the pie: Seizing shared opportunities" asked Jaishankar if the country had switched from a non-alignment policy to "all alignment."

He replied: “Do we have multiple options? The answer is yes. Is that a problem? Why it should be a problem? If I am smart enough to have multiple options, you should be admiring me, you shouldn’t be criticising.”

"I do not want you, even inadvertently, to give the impression that we are purely and unsentimentally transactional. We are not. We get along with people, we believe in things, we share things...but there are times when you are located in different places, different levels of development, different experiences, all of that gets into it," the external affairs minister explained.

"So life is complicated, life is differentiated," he said.

Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement