External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has reiterated that Gaza is facing a humanitarian crisis and needs urgent humanitarian aid.
Addressing the press after the India-Australia Foreign Ministers’ Framework Dialogue meeting in Delhi, Jaishankar said the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas figured in his discussions with Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong on Tuesday.
Referring to the Hamas attack on Israel and the hostage issue as an instance of terrorism, Jaishankar said there can be no compromise on the issue of terrorism. Israel has requested India to recognize Hamas as a terrorist organisation, and on Tuesday, listed Lashkar-e-Taiba as a terrorist organisation.
“There is a second set of issues. That is the humanitarian crisis we see in Gaza today, the need for humanitarian assistance, which is very urgent, and the observance of international humanitarian law. The third set of issues relates to the rights and the future of the Palestinians. That too needs to have a solution,” the Minister said.
India and many other countries are of the view that this needs to be in the form of a two-state solution, he reiterated.
“Today, we are seeing momentum in our economic engagement, educational links, and people-to-people ties. We are working hard to expand this cooperation,” Wong said.
Both sides had met for the 2nd India-Australia 2+2 meeting in Delhi on Monday, but no statement was issued.
Jaishankar is expected to attend the Indian Ocean Conference in Perth, Australia, in February 2024. The trip is also expected to see the hosting of the Raisina Down Under, an Australian version of the Ministry of External Affairs-backed Raisina Dialogues. India will also be hosting the Quad Leaders Summit early next year.
On either end of the Indian Ocean, Australia and India have the largest Indian Ocean coastlines, and are partners in the four-nation Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) alliance, along with the United States and Japan. “The Quad has made enormous progress in the last few years. The natural inclination is to push the envelope and find new convergences. A lot of our conversation today centred around what more could we do to add to the Quad,” Jaishankar said.
“Australia has a good, strong, and close relationship with both of us (Australia and India). It was important that Australia get our perspective on the issue. From our point of view, the key issue is really the space which has been given to extremism and radicalism in Canada,” Jaishankar said.