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Statement by Ministry of External Affairs Official Spokesperson on the tension at the Israel-Lebanon border

New Delhi
July 13, 2006 

We are seriously concerned about the escalating tension in West Asia as a result of developments on the Israel-Lebanese border since yesterday which have the potential to inflame the region further and widen the conflict. India condemns the abduction of two Israeli soldiers on 12 July 2006 by Lebanese militants and calls for their immediate release. We equally strongly condemn the excessive and disproportionate military retaliation by Israel which has targeted civilian infrastructure, including Beirut airport. We are particularly concerned that the actions of the Israeli Defence Forces have resulted in the killing and suffering of innocent civilians, including women and children, that is likely to exacerbate an already tense situation.

India calls upon all parties concerned to eschew violence, de-escalate the situation, and return to the path of negotiations. It is our firm conviction that lasting peace and security in the region, which is in the interest of not only the countries of the region but of the whole world, can be achieved only through peaceful dialogue and not through use of force.