Jaishankar voices India’s concerns over gulf situation

Jaishankar voices India’s concerns over gulf situation

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, right, shakes hands with Indian External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar after a bilateral meeting the U.S. and India at the Department of State in Washington, Wednesday, Dec 18, 2019. (AP/PTI photo)

Worried over escalating tension between Iran and United States, New Delhi on Sunday got in touch with both Tehran and Washington D.C. and underlined India’s stakes in the Persian Gulf and its concern over prospects of instability and conflicts in the region.

External Affairs Minister, S Jaishankar, spoke to US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, and Iranian Foreign Minister, Javad Zarif, over the phone. He also called up his counterparts in Oman and United Arab Emirates, Yusuf Alawi and Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and discussed the evolving situation.

Follow live updates of Iran-US tensions here

The tension between Tehran and Washington D.C. escalated after a US air raid near the airport in Baghdad killed General Qasem Soleimani, who headed the elite Quds Force of Iran.t

"Just concluded a conversation with FM @JZarif of Iran. Noted that developments have taken a very serious turn. India remains deeply concerned about the levels of tension. We agreed to remain in touch," Jaishankar posted on Twitter after speaking to Zarif.

He also spoke to US Secretary of State.

"Had a telephonic discussion with Secretary of State @SecPompeo on the evolving situation in the Gulf region. Highlighted India's stakes and concerns,” tweeted Jaishankar.

India already stopped importing crude oil from Iran after the US re-imposed sanctions on the West Asian republic. But New Delhi is still worried as tankers carrying its oil import from Iraq and Saudi Arabia pass through Strait of Hormuz, which might turn into a conflict zone in case of further escalation in US-Iran tension. New Delhi is also worried about the fate, safety and security of 85 lakh Indian expats in Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, UAE and other nations, which are members of the Gulf Cooperation Council.

"@DrSJaishankar and I spoke just now regarding Iran’s continued threats and provocations. The Trump Administration won’t hesitate to act to keep American lives, and those of our friends and allies, safe," Pompeo posted on Twitter later.

United States President Donald Trump on Saturday said that slain General Soleimani of Iran had roles in organizing a series of terror attacks, including one in New Delhi. Trump did not elaborate, but he was apparently referring to a 2012 attack on a diplomat of the Embassy of Israel in New Delhi.

"Discussed with FM Yusuf Alawi of Oman the tense situation in the region. Reaffirmed our shared interest in the stability and security of the Gulf. Appreciated his perspectives on the current situation," Jaishankar posted on Twitter after speaking to his counterpart in Oman.


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