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India says it is ‘deeply saddened’ by Israel killing of Indian UN staff member in Gaza

May 15, 2024 at 4:42 pm

A retired Indian Army colonel, Waibhav Anil Kale who was serving as UN Security Service Coordinator in Gaza was killed by Israel in Gaza on 13 May 2024 [@UNinIndia/X]

India’s government has claimed it is “deeply saddened” by the killing by a suspected Israeli strike of a retired Indian army officer who worked for the United Nations in the Gaza Strip, amid New Delhi’s continued support for Tel Aviv in its ongoing offensive.

On Monday, an Israeli strike hit a vehicle carrying two individuals working for the UN, who were en route to the European Gaza Hospital in the Strip’s southern area of Rafah at the time. While the attack wounded one of them, it killed the other man, 46-year-old Waibhav Anil Kale.

Kale – who retired as a colonel in the Indian Army in 2022 and had been working as a security coordination officer in the UN Department of Safety and Security in Rafah – was the first UN staff member to be killed by Israeli forces in Gaza since the start of current hostilities on 7 October, making his death a milestone in Israel’s offensive and yet another of its countless violations of the rules of war.

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In a statement by India’s Ministry of External Affairs today, it said that “We extend our heartfelt condolences to his family and dear ones”, who include his wife, Amruta, his son, Vedant, and daughter, Radhika. “Our Permanent Mission to the UN in New York and our Missions in Tel Aviv and Ramallah are extending all assistance in the repatriation of mortal remains to India and continue to be in touch with relevant authorities regarding the investigation into the incident”.

The Foreign Ministry refrained from mentioning who conducted the strike that killed Kale, however, as well as the circumstances of his death.

That an Indian national and former army officer has turned out to be the UN’s first casualty in the Gaza Strip under Israel’s bombardment is despite the fact that New Delhi has ironically maintained firm support for Tel Aviv throughout its genocidal offensive.