After multiple failures to address the West Asia crisis in the Security Council, the UN adopted a resolution in the General Assembly, which called for immediate, durable and sustainable humanitarian truce, with backing from 120 countries. India abstained from voting on the resolution that didn’t condemn the October 7 Hamas terror attacks on Israel, with government sources saying the final text did not reflect all elements of India’s “steadfast and consistent“ position, including that there can be no equivocation on terrorism.
While 45 countries abstained, 14 led by the US and Israel voted against the resolution that was supported by many European countries, including France, and all BRICS and SAARC partners of India. Canada had moved an amendment for an explicit condemnation of Hamas and release of hostages, but it was rejected as it couldn’t get 2/3rd support from the members present and voting.
While India voted in favour of the amendment, it didn’t name Hamas in its explanation of vote in which it said that the terror attacks in Israel on October 7 were shocking and deserved condemnation, while calling for the immediate and unconditional release of the hostages. Although non-binding, resolutions passed by the General Assembly are seen as an indication of the global mood.
Looking to balance its position, the government reiterated its concern over the “astounding” loss of civilian lives, including those of women and children, saying the escalation of hostilities in the region will only exacerbate the humanitarian crisis and that it’s necessary for “all parties to display the utmost responsibility”.
India was among the few major countries like Japan, Germany and UK that didn’t back the resolution meant to facilitate distribution of humanitarian assistance in Gaza by ensuring a truce, even if only temporarily, despite having announced aid for the Palestinians. There were others like France, Spain and Belgium that voted in favour of the Canadian amendment for naming and condemning Hamas but didn’t allow its defeat to end their support for the resolution seeking “humanitarian truce leading to a cessation of hostilities”. France said nothing justified the killing of civilians.
Justifying its decision to abstain, seen by many as betraying a pro-Israel tilt, India urged “the parties “ in its explanation of vote to “de-escalate, eschew violence and work towards creating conditions for an early resumption of direct peace negotiations.”
“Casualties in the ongoing conflict in Gaza are a telling, serious and continuing concern. Civilians, especially women and children are paying with their lives. This humanitarian crisis needs to be addressed. We welcome the international community’s de-escalation efforts and delivery of humanitarian assistance to the people of Gaza. India too has contributed to this effort,” it said, while reiterating support for the 2-state solution.
As it sought de-escalation, the government reiterated its strong condemnation of terrorism saying it’s a malignancy and knows no borders, nationality, or race. “The world should not buy into any justification of terror acts. Let us keep aside differences, unite and adopt a zero-tolerance approach to terrorism,” it said.
In a carefully worded statement, and remarks that could be applied to both sides, the government also denounced violence, especially when it happens on a scale and intensity that’s an affront to basic human values. “Violence as a means to achieve political objectives damages indiscriminately, and does not pave the way for any durable solutions,” it said.
With the resolution not naming Hamas or condemning its terror attack on Israel, the US had accused its Arab allies of empowering Hamas by tabling the same. The resolution had been proposed by Jordan in the General Assembly after 4 attempts to arrive at a consensus on the Gaza situation in the Security Council failed.
Significantly, India’s vote was more in tandem with its Quad partners than those in most of the other major multilateral forums it has longstanding engagements with. India’s vote was at variance with all its SCO and BIMSTEC partners , apart from those BRICS and SAARC. In Quad, while the US voted against the resolution, Australia and Japan abstained.
Source: Times of India
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