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Would like situation in Gulf to de-escalate ASAP: India

Source: PTI  -  Edited By: Hemant Waje
January 09, 2020 23:33 IST

In the midst of spiralling tension between the United States and Iran over the killing of an Iranian military commander, India on Thursday said it would like the situation to de-escalate as soon as possible and was monitoring the developments very closely.

External affairs ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar also said India has been in touch with key players including Iran, United Arab Emirates, Oman and Qatar as it has important interests in the region.

Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif is scheduled to visit India next week to attend the Raisina Dialogue, the flagship annual event of the external affairs ministry.

Zarif will also hold talks with external affairs minister S Jaishankar during his stay in Delhi.

"Peace, security and stability in the region is of utmost importance to us. We have important interests in the region and we would like the situation to de-escalate as quickly as possible. We are talking to several stakeholders in the region," Kumar said.

 

"We are monitoring the situation very closely and will see how it develops in the next few days," he said.

His remarks came a day after Iran said it will welcome any peace initiative by India to de-escalate tensions with the US following the killing of Qasem Soleimani.

Maj Gen Soleimani, 62, the head of Iran's elite al-Quds force and architect of its regional security apparatus, was killed when a US drone fired missiles into a convoy that was leaving the Baghdad International Airport early on Friday. The strike also killed the deputy chief of Iraq's powerful Hashed al-Shaabi paramilitary force.

On Wednesday, Iran launched over a dozen ballistic missiles targeting at least two bases where US military and coalition forces' are stationed in Iraq. Tehran said it was a "slap in the face" of America.

Soleimani's killing was the most dramatic escalation yet in spiralling tensions between Iran and the US.

India has strategic interests in the Gulf region which is a key source of the country's energy security.

Asked whether India would evacuate Indian citizens from Iran if the situation deteriorates, Kumar said necessary steps will be taken depending on assessment.

"We are committed to safety and security of Indians," he said.

On Chabahar port in Iran, Kumar said the US in the past had shown understanding of the importance of the project to India as well as for connectivity of Afghanistan.

Source: PTI  -  Edited By: Hemant Waje© Copyright 2020 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.
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