New Delhi: Referring to the Israel-Hamas war, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday asserted that terrorism is “unacceptable” and said that India is ready to walk along with member countries of G20 in combating terrorism in all its forms, adding that death of civilians in any manner is condemnable.
PM Modi, in his opening remarks of the Virtual G20 Leaders’ Summit, condemned terrorism and also “welcomed” the release of hostages in the ongoing Israel-Hamas war.
Hamas is holding 239 hostages captive in Gaza, including foreign nationals from 26 countries, according to figures from the Israeli military.
Pointing to the Hamas’ October 7 attack on Israel and its impact on the stability of the Middle East, PM Modi said that “there was no anticipation” of the global situation when the virtual summit was proposed at the closing ceremony of the G20 Summit.
“When I proposed this virtual summit, there was no anticipation of what the global situation would be like today; new challenges have arisen in the last months,” PM Modi said.
“The situation of insecurity and instability in the West Asia region is a matter of concern for all of us,” said PM Modi.
PM Modi, while noting that there were “clouds of crisis,” said that it was necessary to make sure that Israel and Hamas war does not spread in the region.
“It is also important to ensure that the war between Israel and Hamas does not spread in the region,” PM Modi added.
Referring to the theme of India’s G20 Presidency “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” or “One Earth One Family One Future”, he said, ” Today, we are seeing the clouds of crisis, one family has the strength to work for peace.”
PM said that civilians deaths is condemnable while also emphasising that terrorism is unaccepatable and all countries should work together to combat it.
“Our coming together today symbolises that we are sensitive to all issues and stand together to solve them. We believe that terrorism is unacceptable to all of us, no matter where the death of civilians occurs,” he also said.
While welcoming the news of the release of hostages, PM Modi also emphasised the timely deployment of humanitarian assistance to the war-struck zone.
“We welcome the news of the release of hostages today and hope that all the hostages will be released soon. Timely and sustained deployment of humanitarian assistance is essential,” the Prime Minister said.
The Israeli Cabinet Secretariat said that in the first phase, 150 security prisoners would be released in four stages over four days, with Palestinians being released subject to at least 10 Israeli abductees being handed over to Israeli security forces each day. Israel said there would be a lull in the fighting during those four days.
Prime Minister Modi also called on the G20 leaders to raise their voices against terrorism.
“India is ready to walk along with member countries of G20 in combating terrorism in all its forms, adding that death of civilians in any manner is condemnable. From the point of view of human welfare, we can raise our voice against terrorism and violence and for humanity,” he added.
Notably, Hamas has agreed to allow 50 hostages to return, however, there are still roughly 150 who will be under Hamas control, with over 200 hostages being abducted during the October 7 offensive into Israel.
Leaders of all G20 members, including Russian President Vladimir Putin, Canadian PM Justin Trudeau as well as nine guest countries and heads of 11 international organisations were also present.
In his opening remarks at the Virtual G20 Leaders’ Summit, PM Modi also said, “Friends, at the New Delhi Summit, it was decided to create a digital public infrastructure repository. I am happy to say that the repository is ready. More than fifty DPIs from sixteen countries have been added to it. I propose to establish a social impact fund to implement DPI in countries of the Global South.”
Notably, India continues to make significant strides aimed at expanding access to digital technologies and services like Aadhaar, Unified Payments Interface, DigiLocker, and CoWin.
“On behalf of India, I also announce the addition of an initial amount of USD 25 mn. I hope that all of you will join this initiative,” said PM Modi.
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office issued a statement on Wednesday, confirming the release of roughly 50 hostages abducted by the Hamas terror group in Gaza during the October 7 attack, reported The Times of Israel.
The virtual G20 Summit is being held under the chairmanship of PM Modi.
The 18th G20 Leaders’ Summit was held in New Delhi on September 9 and 10.It saw the unanimous adoption of the G20 New Delhi Leaders’ Declaration which demonstrated the commitment of the G20 leaders to address global challenges in an inclusive, decisive and action-oriented manner.
At the closing session of the Leaders’ Summit, PM Modi suggested to the G20 leaders to reconvene virtually towards the end of India’s G20 presidency period to take forward the guidance provided by the participating leaders in their interventions.
India assumed G20 Presidency on December 1, 2022 and it will continue till November 30.