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India calls for de-escalation after Iran launches attacks on Israel, Jaishankar calls up Amirabdollahian

New Delhi also stepped up diplomatic efforts to secure the release of the 17 Indian crew of the MSC Aries, a cargo vessel seized by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) of Iran.
nirban Bhaumik
Last Updated : 14 April 2024, 19:22 IST
Last Updated : 14 April 2024, 19:22 IST

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India has called for de-escalation and restraint after Iran launched a drone and missile attack on Israel, triggering fear worldwide for a wider military conflict in West Asia.

New Delhi also stepped up diplomatic efforts to secure the release of the 17 Indian crew of the MSC Aries, a cargo vessel seized by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) of Iran.

With nearly nine million citizens of India living in West Asia, New Delhi on Sunday expressed serious concern over the escalation of hostilities between Israel and Iran. New Delhi noted that the hostilities between the two West Asian nations posed a threat to the peace and security in the region.

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar called up Iranian Foreign Minister H Amirabdollahian and discussed the situation in the region. Jaishankar stressed the need to return to diplomacy.

He also took up with Amirabdollahian the issue of the release of 17 Indians among the crew of the MSC Aries, which the IRGC of Iran had seized from the Strait of Hormuz on Saturday. Tehran claimed that the ship had links with a businessman in Israel.

“We call for immediate de-escalation, exercise of restraint, stepping back from violence and return to the path of diplomacy,” the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) stated in a press release issued in New Delhi. “We are closely monitoring the evolving situation.”

New Delhi also asked its diplomatic and consular missions in West Asia to remain in close touch with the citizens of India. The move is intended to work out a contingency plan to help Indians in case the conflict escalates in the region.

“Our embassies in the region are in close touch with the Indian community,” the MEA stated in the press release issued on Sunday.

“It is vital that security and stability are maintained in the region,” it added.

“Spoke to Iranian FM @Amirabdolahian this evening. Took up the release of 17 Indian crew members of MSC Aries. Discussed the current situation in the region. Stressed the importance of avoiding escalation, exercising restraint, and returning to diplomacy,” Jaishankar posted on X after his phone call with Amirabdollahian. “Agreed to remain in touch.”

New Delhi on April 12 advised the citizens of India not to travel to any of the two West Asian countries. India also asked its citizens already in Israel and Iran to observe utmost precautions.

The MEA in New Delhi issued the travel advisory just days after more than 60 construction workers from India left for Israel, even as the West Asian Jewish nation’s armed forces continued military operations that resulted in the death of over 30000 Palestinians in Gaza since October 7.

The Embassy of Israel in New Delhi arranged a farewell ceremony for the first batch of 64 construction workers recruited from India. Israel’s construction industry has been purportedly looking for workers from India to replace the Palestinians, who have been denied work permits since the conflict started.

After a missile fired from Lebanon killed one and injured two other Indians in northern Israel, New Delhi’s diplomatic mission in Tel Aviv early last month urged the country’s citizens in the West Asian Jewish nation to move to safer areas.

New Delhi, however, allowed Israel to recruit construction workers from India, in accordance with an intergovernmental agreement.

However, after the tension between Tehran and Tel Aviv escalated over the past few days, New Delhi is rethinking and, according to the sources, may not allow more construction workers from India to travel to Israel.

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Published 14 April 2024, 19:22 IST

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