New Delhi: India Sunday conveyed its deep concern over escalation of violence between Israel and the Palestinians in the Gaza strip and called for "direct talks" to end the ongoing conflict.
"We are deeply concerned at the steep escalation of violence between Israel and Palestine, focused around Gaza, that threatens the peace and security of that region," a spokesperson of the ministry of external affairs said.
He said there was urgent need to de-escalate the situation as the region was already undergoing "turmoil".
"We urge both sides to exercise maximum restraint and avoid taking any action that may further exacerbate the situation," the spokesperson said.
He said an emergency meeting on the Palestinian issue was held at the UN Security Council Nov 14 under India's presidency to send a strong message from the council on the need to de-escalate the situation and to immediately stop the violence.
"It is also necessary that direct talks begin without any further delay between Israel and the Palestinian Authority leading to a comprehensive resolution of the Palestinian situation," the spokesperson added.
Israel's Operation Pillar of Defence entered its fifth day Sunday. Despite reports of efforts to achieve a cease fire, fighting continued between Israeli defence forces and the militant groups in Gaza where Israel had Saturday destroyed the Hamas movement's headquarters.