New Delhi:

Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Tuesday said India's stand on the Israel-Hamas war is "constructive" and stressed on a two-state solution. The minister described Hamas as a "terrorist group" and said Israel had the right to defend itself. Puri insisted that he was making this statement in his personal capacity and his statement did not reflect the stand of the Indian government. Meanwhile, Israel's Ambassador to India Naor Gillon said India's stand on the Gaza crisis has been "remarkable" from day one.

Asked whether India should take a tough stand and whether its position has been neutral on Ukraine-Russia war and Israel-Hamas war, Puri said "India is not neutral about Hamas' attack on Israel and condemned this terrorist act in the strongest terms". "Hamas is a terrorist group and has attacked democracy. We support Israel's action against Hamas in this regard. But we do not support its action against the Palestinian people, where two million people live. One has to differentiate between the two," he said.

"Our approach to this has been constructive. We are against terrorism because it has caused havoc in our country as well - we suggest a 'two-state' solution to the problem, in which both Palestine and Israel should have the right to establish their respective countries," he said. Purchases have increased.

Meanwhile, Speaking to reporters here, Israeli Ambassador Gillon termed India's stand on the Gaza crisis as "remarkable" from day one. He specifically referred to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's statement strongly condemning the Hamas attack on Israel on October 7. He said the Israeli military had completely destroyed Hamas' infrastructure except for an underground tunnel in northern Gaza.

He said the Israeli military's focus at the end of the current ceasefire would now be on eliminating Hamas in the southern part of the Gaza Strip. He said the two sides have been expanding counter-terrorism cooperation in the last few years.

The Israeli envoy said he hoped India would designate Hamas as a terrorist organisation and his government had already provided New Delhi with all necessary information against it. Days after Hamas attacked Israeli cities on October 7, Israel had appealed to India to declare the group a terrorist organisation, as did several other countries.

Asked if there was any indication from India that it would heed Israel's request, Gillon said, "We did whatever was expected from us. After weeks of fighting, Israel and Hamas agreed to halt fighting for four days from last Friday. The ceasefire was extended by two more days.

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(Apart from the headline, this news has not been edited by the NDTV team, it has been published directly from the Syndicate feed.) )