The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has addressed the challenging situation in the Gaza Strip, emphasizing the complexities of evacuating four Indian nationals stranded in the conflict-ridden region. MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi assured that the government is committed to bringing them home at the earliest available opportunity. Additionally, one Indian citizen is located in the West Bank area.
During a press conference, the MEA spokesperson conveyed, “The situation in Gaza is currently not conducive for evacuation, but if the opportunity arises, we will facilitate their safe return.”
Furthermore, the MEA reaffirmed its steadfast support for a two-state solution concerning the Palestine issue while strongly condemning the distressing attacks on Israel by Hamas, an acknowledged militant group governing the Gaza Strip along the eastern Mediterranean coast. Bagchi articulated India’s deep concern for civilian casualties and the humanitarian crisis unfolding amidst the Israel-Hamas conflict, urging the global community to unite in their efforts to combat terrorism in all its manifestations.
In response to the tragic attack on the al-Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza, which resulted in approximately 470 casualties, the spokesperson underscored the urgent need for strict compliance with international humanitarian law.
Bagchi also highlighted India’s longstanding support for Palestine and its refugees, citing substantial contributions to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency. India’s contributions have totaled $29.53 million between 2002 and 2023, with the annual commitment increasing from $1.25 million to $5 million in 2018. India has pledged this annual contribution of $5 million for the following two years.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed profound shock at the loss of lives in the Gaza hospital attack and stressed the importance of holding those responsible for civilian casualties during the ongoing conflict accountable.
“Deeply shocked at the tragic loss of lives at the Al Ahli Hospital in Gaza. Our heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims, and prayers for speedy recovery of those injured,” Modi stated, further emphasizing that civilian casualties in the ongoing conflict remain a serious and continuing concern, and those responsible should be held to account.
Regarding ‘Operation Ajay,’ a government initiative aimed at evacuating Indians from war-torn Israel, Bagchi revealed that at least 1,200 individuals, including 18 Nepalis, have been safely evacuated through five flights. However, he refrained from speculating on whether any evacuees originated from the Gaza Strip or West Bank regions.