INDIA TODAY strongly condemned the “disproportionate” use of Israeli forces against Lebanon for the release of its two kidnapped soldiers from the clutches of Hezbollah. However, India ruled out intervention in the present Lebanon crisis, as the matter was pending before the UN Security Council.
Talking to Hindustan Times here on Saturday Union Minister of State for Foreign Affairs E Ahmad also deplored the kidnapping of Israeli army men. However, he said there was no justification for a full-fledged war on the issue. Ahmad was here to inspect construction of a new building of regional passport office and attend a programme of the Indian Union Muslim League. The Minister also flayed the arrest of elected representatives of Hamas for Palestinian Authority. He said when the whole world had lauded the election, Israel had targeted even the Hamas Cabinet minister, which was not justified.
Referring to the ruling Samajwadi Party’s demand for snapping diplomatic relations with Israel, the minister said when the SP was in power at the Centre it had strengthened relations with the country. He said even the SP government in UP was maintaining relations with Israel. The minister said the Congress-led UPA government was extremely careful in its ties with Israel so that it could not have a “negative impact” on relations with Palestine.
Asserting that India had always extended full support to Palestine the minister said a proposal for medicines worth Rs 10 cr was pending for Israeli clearance as the consignment had to be routed through Israeli occupied areas.
He said India, while maintaining good contacts with the Palestinian government, had also pledged $ 15 million to the country.
The minister said Palestine had full confidence in India and it was for this reason that it had earlier asked for engaging New Delhi in peace talks with Israel.
He said 600 Indians had already been evacuated from Lebanon and another ship had reached there to rescue more Indians.
Pointing out that IUML would join electoral fray in next assembly election, Ahmad, who is general secretary of Kerala-based outfit, said the Congress was still the best bet for the Muslim in the country. The minister said the community could easily “knock at Sonia Gandhi’s doors for the solution to its grievances”.
He said IUML had strong relations with the Congress. Earlier, senior officers of regional passport office and IUML leaders including its vice-president Dr NH Ghani welcomed him at the railway station.