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Matter of concern, closely watching developments: India on situation in Red Sea

External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal says India's position on Israel-Hamas conflict has been consistent

Matter of concern, closely watching developments: India on situation in Red Sea

External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal reaffirmed India's emphasis on the importance to freedom of navigation and commerce in the Red Sea. File photo



PTI

New Delhi, January 18

India on Thursday described as a “matter of concern” the unfolding security situation in the Red Sea and said it is closely watching the developments in the critical sea lanes in the region.

External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal reaffirmed India's emphasis on the importance to freedom of navigation and commerce in the Red Sea.

Amid the Israel-Hamas conflict, the Houthi militants have been targeting commercial vessels in the Red Sea triggering global concerns.

A guided missile destroyer of the Indian Navy on Thursday intercepted a cargo vessel with 22 crew members, including nine Indians, over an hour after the Marshall Island-flagged ship came under a drone strike in the Gulf of Aden.

The US and the UK have already launched air strikes targeting the Houthi positions in Yemen.

“It is a matter of concern to us. We give a lot of importance to freedom of navigation and freedom of commerce in that region. Whatever is happening there not just impacts us, but it impacts economic interests and several other interests of so many people across the world,” Jaiswal said.

He was responding to a question on the situation in the Red Sea. “We are closely monitoring the situation and looking at the unfolding situation with a constant watch,” the MEA spokesperson said.

During his recent visit to Tehran, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar discussed the situation in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden with his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amir-Abdollahian.

“We are deeply concerned about the whole situation. It is an important shipping lane for not just India but for the world. We have our interests there which are being impacted,” he said.

The Red Sea has strategic importance as around 15 per cent of global trade passes through it via the Bab al-Mandab Strait.

Asked about Pakistan carrying out a retaliatory missile attack on alleged Baloch separatist camps inside Iran, Jaiswal chose not to comment on it.

On Wednesday, India backed Iran's deadly missile attack targeting terror bases in western Pakistan, saying it understands actions that countries take in self-defence.

India also asserted that it has “an uncompromising” position of “zero tolerance” towards terrorism.

Asked about South Africa accusing Israel of committing genocide against the Palestinians following the Hamas's October 7 attack on Israeli cities, Jaiswal did not give a direct reply, but said India's position on Israel-Hamas conflict has been consistent.

“Our position has been consistent and steadfast. We have condemned terrorism; we have called for release of hostages and have sought protection of civilians. We also called for humanitarian assistance and we stand for a long-term two-state solution,” he said.

#Hamas #Israel


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