Israeli nationals holding placards protest and urge the Israel Government to exchange the hostages through talks with Hamas in Tel Aviv on Thursday (ANI)

Condemning strongly and unequivocally terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, Prime Minister Narendra Modi supports Israel in the moment of crisis. Has Israel and India same approach to countering terrorism?

Our Bureau
New Delhi/Tel Aviv/Ramallah  

Amid the onslaught by Israeli forces on Gaza following the Hamas attacks, Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called Prime Minister Narendra Modi and provided him an update about the ongoing situation. Modi said in a post on X that the people of India stand firmly with Israel in this difficult hour.

“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,” PM Modi said.

On Saturday, expressing solidarity with Israel in the wake of the deadly rocket strikes by Hamas, Prime Minister Modi said that the thoughts of people were with the innocent victims and their families. “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,” PM Modi posted on X.

Israel’s Ambassador to India, Naor Gilon thanked PM Modi for his support.  “Thank you again PM @narendramodi-ji. Since we get SO MUCH support from our Indian brothers and sisters, I’m unfortunately unable to thank each and every one of you personally. Please accept this as my gratitude to all our friends.”

Meanwhile, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has set up a 24-hour control room in view of the ongoing Israel-Palestine conflict. The control room will help monitor the situation and provide information and assistance. India’s Representative Office in Ramallah has also set up a 24-hour emergency helpline.

Indian Ambassador to Israel, Sanjeev Singla in his message said that the situation was being monitored closely and the embassy was there to serve its citizens.

Prime Minister Modi has said that the thoughts of people of India were with the innocent victims and their families in Israel (ANI)

“To our fellow Indian citizens in Israel, this is to assure you that the Embassy is working constantly for your safety and welfare. All of us are going through very difficult times. But please remain calm and vigilant & follow the local security guidelines. We are here to help you and we thank many of you who have sent so many messages of appreciation. We are monitoring the situation closely and please stay tuned for any updates by the Embassy” said the Indian envoy to Israel.

Meanwhile, amid the ongoing Israel-Palestine conflict, the Indian diaspora in Israel has expressed confidence in the country’s military and said they want to live peacefully. A woman of Indian origin in Ashkelon, Israel, Ilana Nagaukar, said: “Yesterday, a missile struck here, vehicles caught fire and there was a power cut in all these buildings. We feel that we are in danger but we believe in our Army. This is our home and we can’t go anywhere. We want to live here peacefully”

Another woman of Indian origin, Rikki thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for supporting Israel’s residents. She said, “We are thankful to PM Modi that he is supporting us. He’s doing a lot of things for us, for Israel and for our community in India. And we think that the things that he is doing for us, it’s very strong.”

The Indian Air Force has kept its aircraft on standby in case there is a requirement to bring back Indian citizens from Israel amidst the war with Hamas, Indian Air Force officials said on Thursday. According to the officials, IAF transport aircraft fleet includes the C-17 and IL-76 heavy-lift transport planes along with the C-130J Super Hercules Special Operations aircraft which have been used in the past for such evacuation operations.

“Operation Ajay” was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to bring back around 18,000 Indians in Israel amidst the war between Hamas and Israel. Registration of Indians began on Thursday.

The Indian embassy in Israel is providing assistance to Indian companies and has set up a helpline for Indian citizens in need of assistance. “A charter flight will reach Tel Aviv today later in the evening. It is expected to get 230 passengers onboard. We have all options, but the role of IAF (in evacuation) can’t be ruled out,” the MEA spokesperson said on ‘Operation Ajay.’

India on Thursday said it sees the attack by Hamas on Israel as “a terrorist attack” and that it has always advocated the resumption of direct negotiations towards establishing a sovereign, independent and viable state of Palestine that lives side by side at peace with Israel. Replying to questions during the weekly media briefing regarding the situation concerning the Israel-Hamas war, Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi also said there is a universal obligation to observe international humanitarian law and the need to fight terrorism.

“Designation of terrorist organization under Indian law is a legal matter. I would refer you to relevant authorities. I think we have been very clear that we see this as a terrorist attack. On designation part (concerned) authorities are best placed to respond to it,” Bagchi said answering queries about Hamas’ attack on Israel.

The spokesperson said India’s position concerning the Palestine issue has been “longstanding and consistent”.

Israel’s Ambassador to India Naor Gilon addresses a press conference in New Delhi (ANI)

“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. That position remains the same,” he said.

Responding to queries about the situation, Bagchi noted that there is a universal obligation to observe international humanitarian law. “There is also global responsibility to fight the menace of terrorism in all its manifestations,” he said.

Meanwhile, Israeli Ambassador to India, Naor Gilon strongly criticized those who attempt to provide ‘context’ or ‘justification’ for the deadly Hamas attack, stating that there can be no context for the killing of 1,200 people, and those who indulge in doing so are effectively “supporting terrorists.”

He argued that terrorism is terrorism, and attempting to provide context aims to portray the victims as oppressors. Expressing his concerns, Gilon said, “I see it very bad for two reasons. First…I saw some people across the world trying to give it context. There is no context to killing 1,200 people. More than 1000 civilians. Decapitating, raping, and whatnot. There is no context to that. Because if you try to do that, but you try to justify terror. You are a supporter of terror if you do that”.

He also pointed out that the approaches of Israel and India are similar with regard to terrorism. “Our approach, also of India and all peace-seeking countries is that terror is terror. It can’t be justified, don’t put the context, don’t blame me…you turn the victim into the one who committed the crime,” he added.

Gilon also raised concerns that Hamas might try to present themselves as ‘victims’ and use civilians as ‘human shields’.

But the Muslim Students’ Organization of India (MSO) has condemned violence and attacks on civilians in the Israel-Hamas war while urging both sides to act with restraint and refrain from impulsive actions. The MSO has emphasized the necessity for dialogue and negotiations towards a two-state solution in the Israel-Palestine conflict. They have also criticized recent attacks by Hamas on civilians, stating, “such barbaric and inhumane acts are against the principles of Islam.”

In a statement, the Muslim Students Organization of India (MSO) stated, “Muslim Students Organization of India is deeply concerned and condemned the violence and attacks on innocent civilians, hostage of women and children. We underline that act of violence and associated escalations will not benefit anymore, and call on parties to act with restraint and avoid impulsive steps.”

MSO stressed that there is a need for dialogue and for negotiations on a two-state solution. It condemned recent attacks by Hamas on civilians and added, “Islam never allowed such barbaric and inhumane act.”

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar chairs a meeting to review preparations for ‘Operation Ajay’ to bring back Indian citizens stuck in Israel on Thursday (ANI)

Muslim Students Organization of India called on the students and youth of India to keep away from sharing “sensitive and dangerous” content on social media that may create communal tension and is against the country’s national interest.

In the latest development, in a stern warning to Hamas, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday said that “though Israel did not start this war” but “will finish it”. “Israel is at war. We didn’t want this war. It was forced upon us in the most brutal and savage way. But though Israel didn’t start this war, Israel will finish it,” said Netanyahu in an address to the nation. PM Netanyahu lashed out Hamas saying that they will pay the price and will remember the same for a long time. Branding Hamas as ISIS, he called on the “forces of civilization” to unite against the Hamas and defeat it. The Israeli military is going on the offence against Hamas with a force “like never before”. As Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu takes on Hamas, he will need strong allies around the world. India is standing by Israel in this moment of crisis.

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