India asks Israel to observe ‘utmost restraint’

December 30th, 2008 - 7:49 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan SinghNew Delhi, Dec 30 (IANS) Condemning the “unwarranted use of force” by Israel in the Gaza Strip that has killed over 300 Palestinians, India has expressed “disappointment” at continuing military strikes and asked Tel Aviv to observe “utmost restraint”.”The government of India had hoped that military action by Israel against targets in the Gaza Strip would abate,” external affairs ministry spokesperson Vishnu Prakash said in a statement here Monday night.

“It is disappointing to note that the use of disproportionate force is resulting in a large number of civilian casualties on the one hand and the escalating violence on the other,” the spokesperson said.

“This continued use of indiscriminate force is unwarranted and condemnable,” Prakash underlined.

“The government of India urges utmost restraint so as to give peace a chance as the peace process may well get derailed irreversibly by Israel’s attack in the Gaza Strip and continued violence,” he said.

Israel Tuesday rejected any truce with Hamas Islamists in the Gaza Strip before cross-border rocket fire ceased and said its air strikes heralded “long weeks of military action”. Around 350 people have died and more than 800 wounded since Israel launched its attacks Saturday.

This is the second statement by India in less than three days asking Israel to end the use of force against Palestinian civilians.

The first statement Dec 27 took note of “immediate cross-border provocations resulting from rocket attacks particularly against targets in southern Israel” - a reference to Hamas using rocket attacks to target southern Israel which was cited by Tel Aviv as a reason for attacking the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.

The statement was seen as mild by some political parties in India.

In a statement Sunday, the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) came down heavily on the “savage and horrific wave of air strikes by the Israeli government”, and accused the Israeli government of “policies of colonial repression” in Gaza and the West Bank.

The CPI-M politburo said it demands that the Manmohan Singh government come out strongly against the Israeli government for this massacre.

“Its shameful policy of promoting security and military collaboration with the Israeli state even while Israel continues its occupation and war against the Palestinians will harm India’s image among the countries of West Asia and damage India’s own interests,” the party said.

The CPI-M demanded that the Congress-led government stops its security and military ties with Israel.

India’s ties with Israel have grown steadily in recent years with Tel Aviv emerging as an important source of military hardware.

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