Strongly condemn terrorism, Modi tells Netanyahu in first phone call after attack
New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday condemned all forms of terrorism during a phone conversation with his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu and raised the issue of the safety and security of Indian citizens in Israel.
This was the first contact between the two leaders since the brazen attacks on Israeli towns by Hamas and other factions over the weekend that sparked fresh tensions in the region. Some 900 Israeli nationals were killed in the attacks and another 700 Palestinians have died in retaliatory Israeli strikes.
Modi, who received the phone call from Netanyahu, reiterated that India “strongly and unequivocally condemns terrorism in all its forms and manifestations”, said a readout from the external affairs ministry.
He expressed “deep condolences and sympathy for those killed and wounded as a result of the terrorist attacks in Israel” and told Netanyahu that the people of India stand in solidarity with Israel.
Modi highlighted the issue of safety and security of Indian citizens in Israel, and Netanyahu “assured of full cooperation and support”, the readout said. The two leaders agreed to remain in close touch.
In a post on X, Modi thanked Netanyahu for his phone call and for providing an update on the situation. “People of India stand firmly with Israel in this difficult hour. India strongly and unequivocally condemns terrorism in all its forms and manifestations,” he said in the post.
Hours after Hamas launched the assault on Saturday, Modi had posted on X that he was deeply shocked by the terrorist attacks in Israel. He had also said that India stands in solidarity with Israel.
There are some 18,000 Indian citizens in Israel, including about 900 Indian students. Many of the Indians primarily work as caregivers for elders, diamond traders and IT professionals.
People familiar with the matter said there are no plans as of now to evacuate Indian nationals from Israel. Most of the Indians work and live in areas far away from the places targeted by Hamas. Indian authorities are closely monitoring the situation and preparations have been made for all eventualities, the people said.
The Indian embassy in Israel had earlier issued an advisory following the attacks that urged Indian citizens to exercise caution and avoid movement.
In a post on X, Netanyahu thanked many world leaders for their unprecedented support for Israel. He said he is in continuous contact with US President Joe Biden, whom he thanked for the US commitment to the security of Israel.