As an intense war rages in the Middle East, India will begin evacuation of its citizens from Israel tonight under ‘Operation Ajay’.
The first chartered flight, with the expected 230 Indians, is slated to take off from Tel Aviv tonight and it will reach here tomorrow morning, External Affairs Ministry spokesman Arindam Bagchi said here during a Media briefing.
Responding to questions, he said the Indian government is keeping a close watch on the situation in the region where Israel is carrying out a major operation in Gaza against Hamas in retaliation to its “terrorist attacks” in Israel on October 7.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has already condemned the terrorist attacks by Hamas and expressed solidarity with Israel.
Bagchi, while replying to a barrage of questions related to the developments in the Middle East, referred to the Prime Minister’s statement and said India does consider Hamas action as terror attacks.
Asked to comment on the ongoing developments in the region, the MEA spokesman said, “There is a universal obligation to observe international humanitarian law. There is also global responsibility to fight the menace of terrorism in all its form and manifestations.”
To a question on India’s official position on Palestine, he said, “Our policy in this regard has been longstanding and consistent. India has always advocated the resumption of direct negotiations towards establishing a sovereign, independent and viable State of Palestine living within secure and recognized borders, side by side at peace with Israel. That position stands.”
Earlier on October 7, Modi had posted on X (formerly Twitter), “Deeply shocked by the news of terrorist attacks in Israel. Our thoughts and prayers are with the innocent victims and their families. We stand in solidarity with Israel at this difficult hour.”
Following the Hamas attack, Israel has launched full-scale war against the militant organisation and has been conducting targeted strikes in Gaza. The military action has led to over 2,500 deaths and thousands being displaced from their homes.