Jaishankar dials Israel and Iran counterparts, expresses concern over conflict | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Jaishankar dials Israel and Iran counterparts, expresses concern over conflict

Apr 15, 2024 08:07 AM IST

India has pushed for de-escalation and a return to dialogue and diplomacy in the context of both the Israel-Hamas conflict and tensions between Iran and Israel

External affairs minister S Jaishankar, during separate phone conversations with his Iranian and Israeli counterparts on Sunday, conveyed India’s concerns over the situation in West Asia and emphasised the need to avoid escalation.

External affairs minister S Jaishankar in New Delhi on Sunday. (Ajay Aggarwal/ HT Photo)
External affairs minister S Jaishankar in New Delhi on Sunday. (Ajay Aggarwal/ HT Photo)

Earlier in the day, India expressed serious concern about the increase 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 on Saturday.

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Jaishankar first spoke to Iranian foreign minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian on Sunday evening and discussed the “current situation in the region”, he said in a post on X.

“Stressed the importance of avoiding escalation, exercising restraint and returning to diplomacy,” Jaishankar said.

He then spoke with Israeli foreign minister Israel Katz and shared India’s concern at the developments on Saturday. Jaishankar and Katz also discussed the larger regional situation.

During his conversation with Amir-Abdollahian, Jaishankar also took up the release of 17 Indian crew members of MSC Aries, a cargo vessel seized by Iranian forces early on Saturday.

The Indian side said it was in touch with Iranian authorities to ensure the security and early release of 17 Indian nationals among the 25-member crew of the cargo ship that was seized by a special forces unit of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) in the Gulf of Hormuz, about 80 km off the coast of the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Jaishankar and his Iranian and Israeli counterparts agreed to remain in touch.

Concern has grown in New Delhi over the Israel-Hamas conflict and the recent spike in tensions between Iran and Israel. West Asia is home to some nine million Indian expatriates and India is worried about the possible impact of any expansion of the conflict in the region on them. West Asian countries such as Saudi Arabia, Iraq and the UAE are also among the primary energy suppliers of India.

Iran launched the drones and missiles in retaliation to 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 the IRGC.

India, which has strategic ties with Iran and Israel, has pushed for de-escalation and a return to the path of dialogue and diplomacy in the context of both the Israel-Hamas conflict and the tensions between Iran and Israel.

New Delhi issued an advisory on Friday urging Indian citizens not to travel to Iran or Israel and calling on nationals living in the two countries to observe “utmost precautions” for their safety.

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