India for immediate de-escalation after Iran launches drones, missiles at Israel | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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India for immediate de-escalation after Iran launches drones, missiles at Israel

Apr 14, 2024 11:45 AM IST

Iran carried out its first ever direct attack on Israel by launching hundreds of drones and missiles.

India on Sunday expressed serious concern about the rise in hostilities in West Asia and called for immediate de-escalation after Iran carried out its first ever direct attack on Israel by launching hundreds of drones and missiles.

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said India is seriously concerned at the escalation of hostilities between Israel and Iran which threatens the peace and security in the region. (File)
The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said India is seriously concerned at the escalation of hostilities between Israel and Iran which threatens the peace and security in the region. (File)

The attack was retaliation for an Israeli air strike on an Iranian diplomatic complex in the Syrian capital of Damascus on April 1 that killed seven people, including a senior general of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC). A special unit of the IRGC seized a cargo vessel with 17 Indian crew members in the Gulf of Hormuz on Saturday.

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The Indian side has watched the escalating tensions between Iran and Israel, especially after the start of the Israel-Hamas war last October, with growing concern since West Asia is home to nine million Indian expatriates, with almost two-thirds based in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). India also has close strategic ties with key Arab states and Israel.

Also read: Iran threatens to attack US bases if it backs Israel's retaliation: 10 points

“We are seriously concerned at the escalation of hostilities between Israel and Iran which threatens the peace and security in the region,” the external affairs ministry said in a statement.

“We call for immediate de-escalation, exercise of restraint, stepping back from violence and return to the path of diplomacy,” the statement said.

India is closely monitoring the evolving situation and Indian embassies in the region are in close touch with the Indian community, the statement said. “It is vital that security and stability are maintained in the region,” it added.

On Saturday, external affairs minister S Jaishankar spoke to his British counterpart David Cameron and discussed the emerging situation in West Asia and bilateral ties, according to a post on X.

On Friday, India issued an advisory urging its citizens not to travel to Iran or Israel because of the rise in tensions between the two sides. It also asked all Indian nationals living in the two countries to observe “utmost precautions”.

Iran’s widely anticipated attack on Israel was perceived as a major escalation between the two countries, though the Iranian side has targeted Israeli interests in the past by using its proxy forces and Israel has retaliated by striking Iranian interests in the region, such as the air strike on the diplomatic compound in Syria.

The IRGC said it launched missiles at specific targets in Israel as part of “Operation True Promise”, and commercial hub Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Dimona, home to Israel’s nuclear plant, were among the apparent targets.

The Israeli military said dozens of missiles and drones were intercepted, most of them outside Israeli airspace. President Joe Biden said the US helped Israel “take down nearly all” of the drones and missiles.

Iran’s state-run media reported the attack caused “heavy blows” to an Israeli military base while Israeli army spokesperson Daniel Hagari said the Iranian strikes caused only “minor damage”. Hagari said in a statement: “Only a few missiles fell in the territory of the state of Israel with slight damage to a military base in the south, with only slight damage to the infrastructure.”

An Israel Defense Forces (IDF) spokesperson said about 200 projectiles were launched from Iran and there were reports of a child being injured.

Biden, who curtailed a weekend break at his Delaware beach house to return to the White House for a meeting with his national security team, said Iran was aided by its proxy forces in Iraq, Syria and Yemen. He acknowledged the US military helped bring down the drones and missiles fired by Iran and said he had convened a meeting of G7 leaders on Sunday.

World leaders such as UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak condemned Iran’s attack and Arab states such as Saudi Arabia and Egypt called for restraint. Sunak said in a statement that Britain will “continue to stand up for Israel’s security”, and added: “These strikes risk inflaming tensions and destabilising the region. Iran has once again demonstrated that it is intent on sowing chaos in its own backyard.”

UN Secretary-General António Guterres expressed alarm about the “very real danger of a devastating region-wide escalation” and urged all parties to exercise maximum restraint.

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