'Our challenge in this extraordinarily difficult time is to strike the right balance': Indian Ambassador

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Ruchira Kamboj Israel Gaza.jpg

Ruchira Kamboj (File Photo)

United Nations: India, voting in favour of a General Assembly resolution demanding an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza, has said the challenge in “this extraordinarily difficult time” is to strike the "right balance".


The 193-member UN General Assembly overwhelmingly adopted the draft resolution at an emergency special session on Tuesday, with 153 nations voting in favour, 10 against and 23 abstentions.

India was among the 153 nations that voted in favour of the resolution, adopted amid a round of applause in the GA hall.

Those voting against included Austria, Israel, and the US while Germany, Hungary, Italy, Ukraine, and the UK were among those who abstained.


"India has voted in favour of the resolution just adopted by the General Assembly,” India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Ruchira Kamboj said after the vote.

The resolution, introduced by Egypt, demanded “an immediate humanitarian ceasefire” and reiterated its “demand that all parties comply with their obligations under international law, including international humanitarian law, notably about the protection of civilians”.

It also demanded the “immediate and unconditional release of all hostages”, as well as ensuring humanitarian access.


With the UNGA adopting the resolution, India welcomed the fact that the international community has been able to find a “common ground” to address the multiple challenges facing the region right now.

“Our challenge in this extraordinarily difficult time is to strike the right balance. The gravity and complexity of what the international community faces is underlined by the Secretary-General invoking Article 99 of the Charter of the United Nations,” Kamboj said.

Guterres last week invoked the rare and “dramatic constitutional move” under the United Nations Charter to appeal to the Security Council for a humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza and to avert a "humanitarian catastrophe”, which he said has potentially irreversible implications for Palestinians and peace and security in the region.


The UNGA resolution took note of the December 6 letter by Guterres written under Article 99 of the UN Charter, the first time that he invoked the Article since he became Secretary-General in 2017.

Article 99 states that “the Secretary-General may bring to the attention of the Security Council to any matter which in his opinion may threaten the maintenance of international peace and security”.

The invocation of Article 99 has been a rare occurrence in the world body’s 78-year-long existence. There have been 10 instances in the past when matters have been brought by the Secretaries-General to the Security Council on threats to international peace and security.


“The actual invocation of Article [99] has not happened in decades. Several letters have invoked threats to international peace and security, but the actual invocation of the article hasn't happened,” the UN Chief’s spokesperson Stephane Dujarric had said.

By writing under Article 99, Guterres invoked “one of the few powers” that the UN Charter gives him.

“Constitutionally, it is the most powerful tool that he has,” Dujarric had said, expressing hope that the international community will be moved by it to push and put in place a humanitarian ceasefire.


Kamboj said the situation that the UN General Assembly has been deliberating upon has many dimensions.

“There is the terrorist attack in Israel on October 7 and the concern for the hostages taken at that time. There is an enormous humanitarian crisis and the large-scale loss of civilian lives, especially of women and children.”

Kamboj added that there is also the issue of observing international humanitarian law in all circumstances, and there is the endeavour to find a peaceful and lasting two-state solution to the long-standing Palestine question.

In October, India had abstained in the General Assembly on a resolution that had called for an immediate humanitarian truce in the Israel-Hamas conflict leading to a cessation of hostilities and unhindered humanitarian access in the Gaza strip.