Gaza tragedy: Delayed response reflects India’s ambivalence - The Tribune India

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Gaza tragedy

Delayed response reflects India’s ambivalence

Gaza tragedy

Colonel Waibhav Anil Kale (Retd). File photo: LinkedIn/Waibhav Anil Kale



WAIBHAV Anil Kale (46), a retired Indian Colonel, became the ‘first international casualty’ for the United Nations (UN) during the Israel-Hamas war after a UN vehicle on the way to a hospital in Rafah came under attack on Monday morning. Kale, who hailed from Thane, Maharashtra, had joined the UN as a security service coordinator and was posted in Gaza only a month ago. His death prompted UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to reiterate an ‘urgent appeal’ for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire and the release of all hostages. He stated that the conflict in Gaza was continuing to take a heavy toll not only on civilians but also on humanitarian workers. In a laudable gesture, Farhan Haq, Deputy Spokesman for the Secretary-General, expressed apologies and condolences to the government and people of India for the tragic incident.

What stuck out like a sore thumb was the far-from-prompt response of the Indian government. The country’s Permanent Mission to the UN issued a statement on Tuesday, offering condolences to Kale’s family, but the Ministry of External Affairs mourned the death only on Wednesday – and even that response was not strongly worded. India diplomatically stopped short of asking that Israel be held accountable, even though reports suggested that Kale’s car had a UN flag and the Israeli authorities had been informed of its movement.

After Kale’s death, Human Rights Watch released a report stating that Israeli forces had conducted at least eight strikes on aid worker convoys and premises since October -- even though the workers had provided the Israeli authorities with their location coordinates. These are unpardonable lapses that must be unequivocally condemned and thoroughly probed. Even as a fact-finding panel set up by the UN is investigating the Kale case, India should look beyond geopolitical considerations and mount pressure on a rampaging, unapologetic Israel.

#Gaza #Hamas #Israel #Maharashtra


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