NEW DELHI (AP) — Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged leaders of developing nations to unite in the face of growing challenges due to the Israel-Hamas war as he convened a virtual summit of more than 100 countries Friday.
“This is the time when the countries of the Global South should unite for the greater global good,” Modi said in a speech, referring to developing nations.
The Voice of Global South Summit was convened to follow up on decisions made during the Group of 20 top world economies meeting in September that New Delhi claimed was a diplomatic success and where the African Union was added as a member.
India sees itself as a leader of the Global South and says the world should make progress on key issues important to these countries.
“We are more than 100 countries but our priorities are similar,” Modi said at the summit, while emphasizing on issues critical to developing nations, including resource efficiency, poverty reduction and food security.
“Voice of the Global South is one of the most unique platforms of the 21st century. From a geographical perspective, the global south has always existed, but it has received the voice of its own for the first time,” he said.
Climate finance, the debt burden of developing countries, and affordable and inclusive energy transition for sustainable development are among the topics to be discussed in the summit’s closed-door sessions, India’s External Affairs Ministry said.
Modi in his speech also condemned civilian deaths during the Israel-Hamas war and emphasized the new challenges from the war.
“India has condemned the terrorist attack in Israel on Oct. 7. We have exercised restraint as well. We have given emphasis on dialogue and diplomacy. We also strongly condemn the deaths of civilians in the conflict between Israel and Hamas,” Modi said.
India has long walked a tightrope between Israel and the Palestinians, with historically close ties to both. While it has expressed solidarity with Israel after the Oct. 1 incursion by Hamas militants, it has urged that international humanitarian law be upheld in Gaza and has also sent aid to the besieged population in the enclave.