India has criticised the UN Security Council for being a mere "standby witness" to the escalating tensions between Israel and Palestine, saying the Council’s effectiveness in dealing with crises has been brought into question.
"The situation in the Middle East region continues to remain fragile and unpredictable with unprecedented changes in several countries in the region. We have seen that the Council has at best been a standby witness to phases of escalation and relative calm which has become characteristic of this unsettled issue," visiting Member of Parliament Kamlesh Paswan said at an open debate in the UN Security Council on the situation in the Middle East here on Thursday.
He said the effectiveness of the Council has consequently been brought into question. "We join others in urging the Council to step up its efforts and take the lead in resolving this problem," he said.
He reiterated India’s support for a negotiated solution resulting in a sovereign, independent, viable and united State of Palestine, with East Jerusalem as its capital, living within secure and recognised borders, side by side at peace with Israel.
Paswan said the recent State visit by Indian President Pranab Mukerjee to Palestine reinforced India’s strong commitment to the Palestinian cause and renewed its political and diplomatic support to Palestine.
He voiced India’s distress and sadness at the loss of lives in the region and welcomed efforts to mitigate the situation. He urged both sides to exercise restraint to reduce the level of tensions and create a conducive environment for resumption of peace talks.
"We are particularly worried that since last year there has been a downward trend in the Peace Process despite efforts for serious negotiations between the parties which remained inconclusive. Unilateral actions by the parties unfortunately are moving them further apart," he said.
He stressed that India remains firmly convinced that dialogue remains the only viable option that can effectively address the Middle East issue.
"The imperative need is for restraint, to avoid provocation and unilateral actions and to return to the peace process. We remain hopeful and urge both sides to resume the peace process soon, for a comprehensive, just and lasting resolution of the Palestinian issue," he said.
He also voiced deep concern with the activities of "proscribed outfits, radicalised and extremist groups" in the West Asia and Gulf region especially in northern parts of Iraq and Syria which are critically impacting on peace and stability in the region.
"Efforts must be taken by all parties and stakeholders in the region to curb these dangerous trends. We believe the consolidation of political processes and solutions while building durable state institutions will be the effective way of addressing such extremism and radicalism in the region," he said.
On Yemen, he said India remains deeply concerned about the worsening political and security situation in the country.
"We have been urging all concerned parties in Yemen to amicably resolve their differences and we hope that the UN-mediation efforts would assist the people of Yemen in finding a consensus-based solution," he said.
On Syria, he expressed India’s continued concern at the ongoing violence and loss of human lives, asserting that there can be no military solution to the crisis.
"India has consistently called for a comprehensive and peaceful resolution of the crisis, bringing all parties to the conflict to the negotiating table. It has to be a Syrian-led process, taking into account the legitimate aspirations of the people of Syria There can be no military solution," he said.
He asked all parties to demonstrate the requisite political will, exercise restraint, and commit to seeking common ground in accommodating their differences.