Indian External Affairs Minister (EAM) S Jaishankar on Saturday (Feb 17) said what Palestinian militant group Hamas did on October 7 was an act of terrorism. Speaking on the sidelines of the ongoing Munich security conference, the Indian minister also warned Israel that it should be mindful of civilian casualties and observe international humanitarian law in Gaza.

“We must be clear that what happened on October 7 was terrorism,” S Jaishankar said, adding, “No caveats, no justification, no explanation, it was terrorism.”

Jaishankar also said Israel’s response should have spared civilian lives.

“It is important that Israel should have been very mindful of civilian casualties and that it has an obligation to observe international humanitarian law,” the EAM said.

The number of Palestinians killed during the war in Gaza has surpassed 28,000 people, according to the Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza.

Speaking of the hostages, Jaishankar said their release was important to secure a peace deal.

“The return of hostages is today imperative,” he said while sharing the stage with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock.

Jaishankar further talked about the need to establish a humanitarian, sustainable corridor in Gaza to provide relief material to the Gazan population.

“There is a need for a humanitarian corridor, a sustainable corridor to provide relief,” he said.

Jaishankar also talked about the need to have a long-term solution to the Israel-Gaza conflict. He said India’s commitment towards a two-state solution has been unwavering and it was more urgent than ever to secure a solution.

“Eventually, there has to be a permanent fix, a long term fix, otherwise you’re going to see reoccurrence. India has certainly believed in a two-state solution, we maintain that position from many decades,” Jaishankar said. “And today many more countries in the world feel not just the two-state solution is necessary but it is more urgent than it was before,” he added.

Jaishankar also responded to criticism regarding India’s close relationship with Russia. While reaffirming India’s stance, Jaishankar said it should not be a problem for others.

"Is that a problem, why should that be a problem? if I am smart enough to have multiple options, you should be admiring me. Is that a problem for others? I don't think so, suddenly in this case. We try to explain what are the different pulls and pressures that countries have. it's very hard to have that unidimensional relationship," Jaishankar said.