Prime Minister Narendra Modi will not participate in today's (November 21) virtual summit of the 'BRICS-Plus' grouping discussing the Israel-Hamas conflict, officials confirmed.
Instead, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar will represent India. The decision, attributed to the Prime Minister's ongoing commitments, including campaigning for state assembly elections in Rajasthan, also suggests India's unease with discussions critical of Israel's actions in Gaza.
India's stance, in contrast to other BRICS-Plus members, aligns more closely with that of the US and other Western countries.
India has not called for an Israeli ceasefire and abstained from a UN General Assembly vote on a ceasefire resolution, unlike other BRICS-Plus nations.
Chinese President Xi Jinping, Russian President Vladimir Putin, and Brazilian President Lula Da Silva are expected to attend the summit, along with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.
The meeting precedes PM Modi hosting the G20 Virtual Summit tomorrow (22 November), where discussions on the Israel-Hamas conflict are anticipated.
The BRICS-Plus meeting, titled "Extraordinary Joint Meeting on the Middle East situation", convened by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, includes soon to be inducted BRICS members — Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
This development occurs as South Africa refers Israel to the International Criminal Court, recalls its diplomats, and escalates diplomatic tensions with Israel.
On the other hand, India emphasises a "strong condemnation" of civilian deaths and calls for "restraint, dialogue, and diplomacy".
The BRICS meeting unfolds amidst efforts by BRICS members to exert pressure on the UN Security Council P-5 to pass a resolution demanding a complete halt to the bombing in Gaza.
The UNSC recently passed a resolution urging humanitarian pauses and corridors, not an immediate ceasefire.
Foreign ministers from the Arab League and Organisation for Islamic Cooperation (OIC), in a meeting in Beijing with China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi, called for an end to hostilities that have resulted in over 12,000 casualties in Gaza, leaving 1.7 million people displaced.
Israel, responding to the 7 October attacks, seeks out Hamas command and control centres, aiming for the return of approximately 240 hostages believed to be in Hamas custody.
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