As India assesses the Israel-Hamas war and reaches out to major stakeholders in West Asia, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi have discussed the deteriorating security and humanitarian situation and agreed on the need for early restoration of peace and stability in the region.
Modi and El-Sisi spoke Saturday and shared concern over terrorism, violence and loss of civilian lives. They emphasised on facilitating humanitarian assistance to those in need.
They also deliberated on the implications of the current situation for West Asia and the world, according to an Indian read-out of the phone call.
“Yesterday, spoke with President @AlsisiOfficial. Exchanged views on the deteriorating security and humanitarian situation in West Asia,” Modi said in a post on X Sunday.
“We share concerns regarding terrorism, violence and loss of civilian lives. We agree on the need for early restoration of peace and stability and facilitating humanitarian assistance,” he said.
He had made similar remarks in his phone conversation on October 23 with Jordan’s King Abdullah-II. Since October 7, Modi has had phone conversations with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President of Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas in view of the war triggered by the deadly Hamas attack on Israel. The Israelis have retaliated with a major offensive in the Gaza Strip ruled by Hamas, carrying out air strikes and raids. The Israeli offensive has led to turmoil in the Arab world and prompted Iran and its proxies in Lebanon and Syria to threaten a wider conflict.
The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said Modi and El-Sisi discussed the situation in West Asia and its implications.
“Both leaders expressed their shared concern at terrorism, violence and loss of civilian lives. The Prime Minister reiterated India’s long-standing and principled position on the Israel-Palestine issue,” it said.
“The two leaders agreed on the need for early restoration of peace and stability and facilitating humanitarian assistance,” the MEA said in a statement.
There has been mounting global concern over the plight of civilians in Gaza. On October 22, India sent over 38 tonnes of relief material for the people of Palestine via Egypt.
An Egyptian statement said President El-Sisi received a phone call from Prime Minister Modi and the two leaders exchanged views on the latest developments in the Israeli military operations in the Gaza Strip.
Counselor Ahmed Fahmy, spokesman for the Egyptian Presidency, said President El-Sisi confirmed that Egypt is pursuing its endeavours to coordinate regional and international efforts to push towards a ceasefire.
The phone call after India’s abstention at the UN General Assembly on a Gaza ceasefire resolution — it had no references to either Hamas or hostages — exemplifies New Delhi’s bid to address competing imperatives in the ongoing conflict.
Its position is in tune with its stand in the other ongoing conflict, the Russia- Ukaine war. While the circumstances, politics and conditions of the two wars are different and not comparable, the diplomatic playbook of balancing has been a consistent feature of New Delhi’s approach.
The geopolitics of the Middle East is fraught as well as closer home and India will need to mobilise its diplomatic skills and goodwill with the main actors to negotiate the coming weeks and months. The phone calls to Jordan and Egypt’s leaders are a part of that engagement.