The War in Gaza has seen India posed with the usual strategic dilemma of prioritising the position an elevated act of terror, supporting a key strategic partner Israel, the humanitarian crisis in Gaza and the increasing civilian toll in Israel's operations.
Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson in a weekly media conference on O9 November 2023 outlined India’s perceptions on the War in Gaza and highlighted India’s policy. Breaking down the issue the following emerge-
We have strongly condemned the horrific terrorist attack on Israel, urged the need for zero tolerance for terrorism and called for immediate and unconditional release of hostages.
We have also conveyed our deep concern at the humanitarian crisis in Gaza and the increasing civilian toll and welcomed efforts to de-escalate the situation and provide humanitarian assistance.
India has also sent 38 tons of humanitarian relief material. We have emphasized the need for strict observance of international humanitarian law.
We have also urged the parties to de-escalate, eschew violence and work towards creating conditions for an early resumption of direct peace negotiations towards a two-state solution.
In an earlier briefing on October 19, Bagchi had outlined Indian position on Palestine, Bagchi said, “On Palestine, our position, we have reiterated our position in favour of direct negotiations for establishing a two-state solution. We have also expressed, in particular at your query, our concern at the civilian casualties and the humanitarian situation that is happening day by day, and we would urge the strict observance of international humanitarian law”.
State on State wars are back as marked by major conflict trends today. Within two decades the trajectory of international security which was defined by global terrorism post 9/11, is now increasingly denoting a move towards state-on-state wars post Russian invasion of Ukraine in February last year.
The War between Israel and Hamas is a grim reminder of barbarity of violence perpetrated by non-state and state actors alike. There have been smaller wars that happened which engaged attention of security watchers across the globe be it in the South Caucasus between Armenia and Azerbaijan, the civil war in Sudan and violent turmoil in some other parts of Africa including Ethiopia and Libya. The smaller wars were regional in nature thus had a local impact even though the civil war in Sudan led to evacuation of thousands of foreign citizens but did not have extraneous effect as the war in Ukraine and Israel-Hamas. These can be seen as defining conflicts of this decade so far due to escalation horizontally engulfing their neighbours and rest of the World and vertically in terms of level of violence, weapons of war employed and purpose for which waged.
Given that Israel’s operations are seen as a retributive war to seek justice for the innocent civilians killed in the Hamas terrorist attack a no holds barred approach has been adopted. This despite a UN General Assembly resolution that has called for a humanitarian cease fire. Meanwhile Russia claims that it was forced upon the war in Ukraine given the failure of diplomacy through the Minsk agreements in resolving issues such as eastern expansion of NATO and the European Union towards Ukraine amongst others. Ironically unleashing of the war may have resulted in accelerating these interventions by NATO and EU. A common factor in the wars is authoritarian leaders that have launched these wars – be it President Vladimir Putin, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu or with respect to the South Caucausus, Turkish President Recep Erdogan.