On November 23, 2023, India held its last summit of the G20 in a virtual format where most of its leaders talked about the current Israel-Hamas War. While the other leaders condemned the attack that commenced on October 7, 2023, the major emphasis was put on the release of hostages, a humanitarian pause to the violence that has claimed scores of civilian lives in the Gaza Strip and the need for immediate and effective resistance to the war-torn Palestinian enclave.
Notably, the summit was attended by Russian President Vladimir Putin, Chinese Premier Li Qiang, Japan’s Fumio Kishida, Turkey’s Tayyip Erdogan, Canada’s Justin Trudeau, Australia’s Anthony Albanese and Brazil’s Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, among others.
In his opening remarks at the Summit, PM Modi said, “The insecurity and instability in West Asia region concerns all. Our coming together today is a sign that we are sensitive to all these issues and stand together to resolve them. We believe that terrorism is unacceptable to us. The death of civilians, wherever they are, is condemnable. We welcome the release of the hostages today and hope for their swift release, he added.
PM Modi’s comments on the Israel-Hamas War came as the two sides agreed to a ceasefire in Gaza for at least four days to let in aid and release at least 50 hostages captured by militants in exchange for at least 150 Palestinians and turned into a regional conflict.
He also called on world leaders to ensure that it does not spill over into another conflict. “Ensuring the timely and continuous delivery of humanitarian aid is imperative. It is also crucial to ensure that the conflict between Israel and Hamas does not take on any kind of regional form.
The Arab nation of Egypt, an important neighbouring nation to Palestine (Gaza Strip), made a strong pitch for the protection of civilians, Speaking at the Virtual Summit, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah-El-Sisi said that despite the rising international warnings, the war continues unabated. He spoke about the need for civilians to be protected. He said that international laws need to be respected and a political solution was the need of the hour.
The Russian Federation, which recently hosted an Israel-Arab delegation of foreign ministers to discuss the situation in Palestine, focused on the need for collective, consensus decisions.
Comparing the International community’s reaction to the Russi-Ukraine war as opposed to the Israel-Hamas War and referring to the conflict in Ukraine provoked by the West, Russian President Vladimir Putin asked: “I understand that this war and the loss of life cannot but shock. Isn’t the bloody coup in Ukraine in 2014, followed by the war of the Kyiv Regime against its people in Donbas, shocking?
Isn’t it shocking that doctors have to conduct operations on children, abdominal surgeries and the use of the scalpel on a child’s body without painkillers and anaesthesia? Isn’t it shocking that the General Secretary said that the Gaza Strip has turned into a children’s cemetery?
Questions after Summit
Responding to a question during a briefing after the summit, India’s EAM Subramanaium Jaishankar said, “The Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) position is known, you heard it, Most leaders have discussed the crisis, there was a broad of views. While there was no specific proposal made by India we welcomed the understanding reached after the mediation by Qatar, Egypt and the US. The focus is to ensure it does not spillover,”