The White House has stated that India, which is still the US’s strategic ally, is free to choose its position on any given crisis or event that arises anywhere in the world, including the Middle East.
Given that New Delhi enjoys cordial relations with both Israel and Palestine, the question of whether the US sees any role for India in resolving the Middle East crisis prompted John Kirby, Coordinator for Strategic Communications at the National Security Council in the White House, to make his comments.
On October 7, gunmen from Hamas launched an unprecedented attack on Israel from the Gaza Strip, resulting in the deaths of over 1,400 people and the kidnapping of over 200 others.
Since then, Israel has responded by attacking Gaza with airstrikes and, most recently, by going on the offensive on the ground. The health ministry, which is controlled by Hamas, reports that over 10,500 people have died in Gaza.
Kirby informed reporters during a news conference on Wednesday that “India is a key strategic partner, and I think you saw that on full display when Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi was here,” alluding to the Indian Prime Minister’s state visit to the US in June.
“But we’ll leave it to the Indian government and to the prime minister to decide what their stance is going to be on any particular crisis or contingency around the world, to include the Middle East,” Kirby stated.
India had described Hamas’s multi-pronged attack on Israeli cities on October 7 as terror strikes but at the same time called for strict observance of the international humanitarian law following concerns over civilian casualties in Gaza in view of Israel’s counter-offensive.
“They (India) remain a key strategic partner. And we’re dedicated to advancing that partnership every single day,” Kirby said.