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Interpreting India’s Position Towards The Latest Israeli-Hamas War
Official statements confirm that India’s position is just as balanced as Russia’s.
A lot of people have fallen under the impression that India’s position towards the latest Israeli-Hamas war favors the self-professed Jewish State at the expense of Palestine, thus representing a fundamental shift in its stance towards this decades-long conflict, but that’s an inaccurate perception. Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted twice about the conflict thus far as of 13 October while External Affairs Ministry spokesman Arindam Bagchi just gave a briefing that touched upon this topic. Here’s what they said:
* 7 October: Prime Minister Modi
- “Deeply shocked by the news of terrorist attacks in Israel. Our thoughts and prayers are with the innocent victims and their families. We stand in solidarity with Israel at this difficult hour.”
* 10 October: Prime Minister Modi
- “I thank Prime Minister @netanyahu for his phone call and providing an update on the ongoing situation. People of India stand firmly with Israel in this difficult hour. India strongly and unequivocally condemns terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.”
* 12 October: Spokesman Bagchi (abridged comments)
- “On the issue of how we see Hamas, for example…As you are aware, the designation of a terrorist organization under Indian laws is a legal matter. And I would refer you, I think, Milan, you asked…I would refer you to the relevant authorities in this. I think we've been very clear that we see this as a terrorist attack.
How do we see the situation on Palestine or our position on that? Our policy in this regard has been long-standing and consistent. India has always advocated the resumption of direct negotiations towards establishing a sovereign, independent, and viable state of Palestine, living within secure and recognized borders side by side at peace with Israel.
As I said, our focus is to assist our citizens. But there is a universal obligation, I think, to observe international humanitarian law. There is also a global responsibility to fight the menace of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. And I think that accurately sums up how we look at this position. I think I have covered most of the queries.”
To summarize the policy that those two articulated: 1) India believes that Hamas carried out a terrorist attack against Israel; 2) India therefore naturally supports Israel as a fellow victim of terrorism; 3) at the same time, India also maintains its consistent support of an independent Palestinian state; 4) that selfsame state must, however, live in peace with Israel; and 5) while Israel has the right to self-defense, its response to this terrorist attack must remain within the limits of international humanitarian law.
India’s policy towards the latest Israeli-Hamas war is therefore very similar to Russia’s as explained here:
The first piece confirms President Putin’s passionate support of Israel’s right to self-defense, especially whenever it falls victim to terrorist attacks, as proven by his related remarks that were published on the official Kremlin website between 2000-2018. The second then analyzes Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova’s initial response to the latest Israeli-Hamas war and draws attention to her call for both sides to “implement an immediate ceasefire, renounce violence, (and) exercise restraint”.
The third piece debunks the fake news narrative that Russia benefits from this conflict, which falsely implies that it had a hand in it, while the fourth one about Syria raises awareness of the practical form that President Putin’s support of Israel’s right to self-defense has taken with regards to that country. The fifth piece then clarifies Russia’s approach towards the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in general prior to the final one summarizing everything in light of two top officials describing Hamas’ latest attack as terrorism.
As can be seen, Russia and India both support Israel’s right to self-defense, especially whenever it falls victim to terrorist attacks of the sort that their officials believe that Hamas just carried out. Nevertheless, neither thinks that this group’s actions discredit the cause of Palestinian independence since they each remain committed to seeing Israel implement relevant UNSC Resolutions to this end. Russia and India also want Israel’s response to remain within the limits of international humanitarian law.
The primary difference between these two, however, is that President Putin has explicitly blamed the US for the latest conflict whereas no Indian official has done so nor is any expected to. Russian interests are advanced by reminding the world that America monopolized the peace process and then failed to ensure that the relevant UNSC Resolutions were implemented, which perpetuated the security dilemma that directly led to last weekend’s events. This serves to present Moscow as a much more neutral mediator.
Russia wants to revive the Mideast Quarter in which the US participates together with the EU and the UN or potentially pioneer a more pragmatic alternative framework between itself, Israel, the Palestinian Authority, and possibly Hamas too (if that group isn’t destroyed by the time the latest conflict ends). Neither scenario is possible so long the primary stakeholders remain beholden to the US-monopolized peace process, ergo the need to discredit the aforesaid so as to get everything back on track.
India isn’t part of the abovementioned Quartet and doesn’t believe that it has any realistic chance of pioneering any alternative framework between itself and the conflict’s primary stakeholders, which is why its interests aren’t served by elaborating on the reasons behind the latest events. Furthermore, unlike Russia which is fighting a proxy war with the US in Ukraine, India is one of the US’ top strategic partners nowadays so it would be counterproductive to criticize the latter’s position towards this conflict.
For as strongly as some in the Alt-Media Community might feel about the importance of this difference, it’s a fact that Russia and India share the same stance towards everything else. They support Israel’s right to self-defense but want it to comply with international humanitarian law, and their officials condemn Hamas’ terrorist attack but don’t believe that it discredits the cause of Palestinian independence. India’s position towards the latest Israeli-Hamas war is therefore just as balanced as Russia’s.