India calls for 'immediate' Gaza ceasefire | delhi | Hindustan Times
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India calls for 'immediate' Gaza ceasefire

delhi Updated: Jan 04, 2009 20:32 IST
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India on Sunday called for an "immediate" halt to Israel's offensive in Gaza and said the Jewish state was using excessive military force.

"There should be immediate ceasefire and both sides must exercise restraint," Indian Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee told reporters in Kolkata.

"The retaliation by Israel (to Hamas rocket attacks) was not only disproportionate, but totally unacceptable," he said.

"There should not be any further aggravation as innocent people at Gaza are being killed... There is immense suffering of the people there," the minister said.

India, a Cold War ally of the Palestinians, in recent years has turned into one of the largest buyers of Israeli weapons.

Thousands of Israeli troops and scores of tanks pushed deep into Gaza on Sunday, moving towards the enclave's capital on a mission to end militant rocket attacks.