News Brief

Jaishankar In Iran: Attacks On Ships In Indian Ocean Matter Of 'Great Concern', Impact India's Energy And Economic Interests

Kuldeep Negi

Jan 16, 2024, 09:20 AM | Updated 09:19 AM IST

EAM S Jaishankar
EAM S Jaishankar

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Monday (16 January) said that attacks on ships in vicinity of India are a matter of "great concern" to the international community and such actions have direct bearing on India's energy and economic interests.

As part of his two-day visit to Iran, Jaishankar called upon Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and conveyed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s greetings, also seeking Raisi’s guidance on “further development of ties” between the two nations.

His visit to Iran comes amid escalating tensions in West Asia and the Red Sea.

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Jaishankar also met with his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amirabdollahian, Secretary of the National Security Council Ali Akbar Ahmadian, and Minister of Roads and Urban Development Mehrdad Bazrpash, with whom he discussed cooperation on the strategically vital Chabahar port.

In Tehran, Jaishankar, while reiterating India’s “uncompromising position against terrorism in all forms and manifestations”, also spoke about “the deeply concerning situation in Gaza”.

Speaking at a joint press statement with Iranian foreign minister, Jaishankar said, "We also exchanged perspectives and assessments on certain regional and global issues and developments. Both of us are concerned about the recent events in West Asia, which some call Middle East; and we emphasised the importance of preventing further escalation of violence and hostilities".

"As you all know, India has a long-standing and uncompromising position against terrorism in all forms and manifestations. This remains so very much. At the same time, we strongly believe that it is imperative to avoid loss of civilian life in any conflict situation," he said.

"The deeply concerning situation in Gaza was naturally a subject of our discussions. The loss of civilian lives, especially that of women and children was our primary focus. There is a visible humanitarian crisis that needs to be addressed and the creation of sustainable humanitarian corridors is the need of the day. We welcome the international community’s efforts in that direction. India itself has delivered shipments of relief material to Gaza and contributed to the UNRWA," the minister added.

He also spoke about threats to maritime shipping in the region and stressed that it’s important that this issue is “clearly recognised”, in an apparent reference to targeting of merchant vessels in the Red Sea by Iranian-backed Yemen’s Houthi rebels.

"As you are all aware, there have also been recently a perceptible increase in threats to the safety of maritime commercial traffic in this important part of the Indian Ocean. The Minister also referred to it. We have even seen some attacks in the vicinity of India. This is a matter of great concern to the international community. Obviously, it also has a direct bearing on India's energy and economic interests," he said.

"This fraught situation is not to the benefit of any party and this must be clearly recognised," the minister added.

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Kuldeep is Senior Editor (Newsroom) at Swarajya. He tweets at @kaydnegi.

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