Israel lost more than 1,200 people in the October 7 attack by Hamas (File)
Union minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Tuesday said India has a "constructive" stand on the Israel-Hamas conflict and stressed on the two-state solution. The minister called Hamas a "terrorist group" and said Israel has a "right to defend" itself against its advances.
Mr Puri, however, stressed that he was speaking in his personal capacity and his remarks did not represent the views of the Indian government.
Asked if India should take a stern stand and whether its stance on the Ukraine-Russia and Israel-Hamas conflicts has been neutral, Mr Puri asserted "India is not neutral on Hamas' attack on Israel and has strongly condemned this act of terrorism." "Hamas is a terrorist group and they have attacked democracy ... We support Israel's action against Hamas in this regard. But we don't support its action against Palestine where 2 million people live. One has to distinguish between the two," Puri said.
"Our stand on this has been constructive. We are against terrorism because it has caused havoc in our country as well ... We suggest a two-state solution to the problem wherein both Palestine and Israel should have the right to constitute their (respective) state," he said.
Talking about the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, the minister said that the war had a major impact on the energy sector but India's purchase of crude oil from Russia has increased over time.
"One of the major impacts of the Russia and Ukraine war was on the energy sector because Russia is a major producer of energy ... Due to the sanctions imposed on Russia by the West ... We felt that the thing operated against the interest of countries like India but we didn't get overwhelmed by that," he said.
The Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas and Housing and Urban Affairs was answering questions by students at a special parliamentary House on the topic 'Current war in Europe and the Middle East and their global impact particularly in India' at the Hindu College.
More than 13,300 Palestinians have been killed since the war began, roughly two-thirds of them women and minors, according to the Health Ministry in Hamas-ruled Gaza.
Israel has lost more than 1,200 of its people, mostly civilians killed in the October 7 attack which triggered the current war. At least 77 soldiers have been killed in Israel's ground offensive, according to media reports.
A truce between Israel and Hamas entered its fifth day on Tuesday.
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