HTLS 2023: S Jaishankar explains why India abstained from voting on Israel
S Jaishankar, however, said despite the regional challenges, Europe's interest in the proposed India-Middle-east corridor is intact.
New Delhi: Referring to India's interests in the middle-east, External affairs minister S Jaishankar on Saturday described the Hamas-Israel war as “a very complex situation with many possibilities”. Speaking with HT editor-in-chief R Sukumar at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit, the union minister said India's strategy is to keep what he called “the master plan” going while responding "side-by-side" to the emerging situation.
"To clearly conclude, it is a very complex situation with many possibilities which are not fully apparent; possibilities, not in a good way," he said.
He, however, said despite the regional challenges, Europe's interest in the proposed India-Middle-east corridor is intact.
"In terms of the initiatives, there was enormous interest in IMEC. Because Europeans do see today the need to have more efficient, smoother logistical passage to India, given the fact that Europe will remain a major hub of the global economy and India will also grow in economic weight," he said.
He also elaborated on India's abstention from voting on Israel in the United Nations.
“The difference between policy and debate -- in a debate you pick a particular argument which you want to pick. In policy, there are many factors in play, often contradictory and not harmonious, so a balance has to be brought,” he said.
"We have no doubt and we have said it very clearly, what happened on October 7 was terrorism. It is not just a government view, if you ask any average Indian, terrorism is an issue which is very close to people's heart, because very few countries and societies have suffered terrorism as much as we have. When Israel moved onto Gaza, we recognised whatever action is taken international humanitarian law has to be observed. When it comes to the issue of Palestine, we have been very clear that the only solution we see is a two-state solution. That state can only be arrived at after a direct dialogue between Israel and Palestine. So you have three sets of issues. From a policy perspective, you cannot believe so strongly in issue number 3 that you are willing to disregard 1 and 2...We just felt that the resolution that was moved did not get the three issues appropriately balanced out," he added.
The Israel government had expressed appreciation for India for refraining from voting in the resolution. The Israel government's spokesperson Eylon Levy said the resolution was outrageous and the country would have wanted India to vote against it. He also pointed out that the resolution didn't mention Hamas at all.
The United States had also called the resolution outrageous.
US ambassador to the UN, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, said before the voting," As you’ll notice, two key words are missing in the resolution before us. The first is Hamas. It is outrageous that this resolution fails to name the perpetrators of the October 7th terrorist attacks: Hamas. Hamas. It is outrageous," the envoy said.
“This resolution makes no mention of the innocent people – including citizens of many of you in this room – many of you here today who have citizens who are being held hostage by Hamas and other terrorist groups,” Linda added.
45 countries, including India, had abstained from voting on the resolution.
1400 people, including women and children, died in Israel after Hamas terrorists attacked the country on October 7. Thousands of Palestinians have been killed in Israel's retaliatory strikes since then.