NSA Doval visited Israel to promote peace and stability in West Asia: MEA | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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NSA Doval visited Israel to promote peace and stability in West Asia: MEA

Mar 15, 2024 07:31 PM IST

NSA Ajit Doval met Benjamin Netanyahu, his Israeli counterpart Tzachi Hanegbi and several other senior leaders and discussed the developments in Gaza

NEW DELHI: National Security Adviser (NSA) Ajit Doval’s visit to Israel this week was aimed at building on the Indian government’s efforts to promote peace and stability in West Asia amid the Israel-Hamas conflict, the external affairs ministry said on Friday.

National Security Adviser Ajit Doval during a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, on March 11. (PTI File/IMAGE VIA @IsraeliPM)
National Security Adviser Ajit Doval during a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, on March 11. (PTI File/IMAGE VIA @IsraeliPM)

Doval met Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during the previously unannounced visit, which came against the backdrop of growing concern in New Delhi over the fallout of the conflict in the Gaza Strip.

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“As you are aware, the prime minister himself is invested and keen to promote peace and stability in the region. He has been in touch with several Arab leaders in this connection,” external affairs ministry spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal told a regular media briefing.

“The NSA’s visit to Israel, which took place at the onset of the holy month of Ramadan, carries forward these efforts,” he said.

Doval met Netanyahu, his Israeli counterpart Tzachi Hanegbi and several other senior leaders and discussed the developments in Gaza. “He emphasised on the delivery of humanitarian aid and assistance and discussed steps being undertaken for the release of hostages,” Jaiswal said.

This was also Doval’s first visit to Israel since the October 7 terror attacks by Hamas that triggered the conflict last year. A readout from the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office had said Netanyahu updated Doval on recent developments in the Gaza Strip. The two sides also discussed the effort to release hostages and humanitarian assistance, the readout added.

Doval’s visit came at a time when key Arab states and the US are trying to broker a ceasefire in Gaza during the Islamic holy month of Ramzan. India has stakes in peace in West Asia as the region is home to close to nine million Indian nationals.

Last week, India said it is focused on the safety of all its citizens in Israel following the death of an Indian and injuries to two more in a missile attack by Hezbollah in support of Hamas. More than 18,000 Indians are currently in Israel, including caregivers and professionals.

India has repeatedly said it has a “zero tolerance” policy for terrorism but also insisted on the safe delivery of humanitarian aid and an end to civilian casualties in Gaza. It has also urged the world community to ensure the conflict in Gaza doesn’t spread beyond the region and to seek a two-state solution where Palestinian people can live within secure borders.

Hamas killed around 1,200 people in Israel during the terror attacks and kidnapped around 250, some of whom were released during a brief ceasefire last year. The death toll in Gaza due to Israeli bombardment has crossed 31,000.

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