NEW DELHI: The bombing of the Lebanese border village of Qana on Sunday morning, killing children, women, and innocent civilians, finally provoked India to issue a strong statement against its newfound ally, Israel.
“India strongly condemns the continued irresponsible and indiscriminate bombing of Lebanon by the Israeli military, ignoring calls for restraint,” the external affairs ministry said.
Calling the bombing “outrageous”, India expressed “deep condolences to the government and people of Lebanon”. It also condemned the Israeli air strikes on UN peacekeepers, in which two Indian soldiers were injured, on Saturday. Earlier, another Indian soldier was hurt and four Ghanaian peacekeepers killed in Israeli bombings. But at the time India had refused to comment, saying UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan had already done so.
On Sunday, however, the mood was angry. “We demand that such targeting of UN peacekeepers is stopped forthwith,” India said. Expressing deep concern at the escalation of the conflict, it called for an immediate and unconditional ceasefire to allow the flow of humanitarian aid to the affected people.
Israel has steadfastly rejected international appeals to end its bombing.