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Iran's attack on Israel: India presses for immediate de-escalation, return to path of diplomacy

'We are closely monitoring the evolving situation. Our Embassies in the region are in close touch with the Indian community,' MEA said in a statement

PTI New Delhi Published 15.04.24, 09:28 AM
Representational image.

Representational image. Shutterstock

With Iran's first direct attack on Israel triggered the spectre of a wider conflict in West Asia, India on Sunday said it is seriously concerned over the escalating hostilities between the two sides and called for immediate halt to violence and return to the path of diplomacy.

As Iran's firing of hundreds of drones and missiles towards Israel further escalated tensions in the region, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar held separate telephonic conversations with his Iranian and Israeli counterparts and underlined the importance of avoiding escalation and exercising restraint.

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Iran carried out the attack on Israel in response to a suspected Israeli strike on its consulate in Damascus on April 1 that killed seven Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guards including a senior general.

In its reaction, India called for immediate de-escalation of the situation and said that its embassies in the region are in close touch with the Indian community in the region.

"We are seriously concerned at the escalation of hostilities between Israel and Iran which threatens the peace and security in the region," the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said.

"We call for immediate de-escalation, exercise of restraint, stepping back from violence and return to the path of diplomacy," it said.

The MEA said India is closely monitoring the evolving situation in West Asia.

"We are closely monitoring the evolving situation. Our Embassies in the region are in close touch with the Indian community," it said in a statement.

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

Iran's unprecedented attacks drew international condemnation and anguish with many global leaders calling for restraint by both Iran and Israel.

In his phone conversation with Iranian counterpart Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, Jaishankar also called for the release of 17 Indians onboard a Portuguese-flagged cargo vessel MSC Aries.

On Saturday, the Iranian military seized a cargo ship with Israeli links near the Strait of Hormuz. The ship has 17 Indian crew members.

"Spoke to Iranian FM @Amirabdolahian this evening. Took up the release of 17 Indian crew members of MSC Aries," Jaishankar posted on 'X' "Discussed the current situation in the region. Stressed the importance of avoiding escalation, exercising restraint and returning to diplomacy. Agreed to remain in touch," he said.

In his talks with Israeli foreign minister Israel Katz, Jaishankar shared India's concerns over the situation arising out of the Iran-Israel hostilities.

"Shared our concern at the developments yesterday. Discussed the larger regional situation. Agreed to stay in touch," the external affairs minister said.

With escalation of tensions in West Asia, India on Friday asked its citizens not to travel to Iran and Israel.

It is learnt that New Delhi is looking at various contingencies including possible evacuation of the Indians from the two countries if the overall situation deteriorates.

At present, around 4,000 Indians are residing in Iran while the number in Israel is nearly 18,500, according to official estimates.

Following Iran's attack, the Israeli military said it and its allies have intercepted the majority of more than 300 drones and missiles fired by Iran.

Hours after Iran's attack on Israel, Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Bagheri said Tehran has no intention of continuing the operation against Israel, and the operation has been concluded, according to Iranian news agency IRNA.

Tehran also warned of a "much bigger" strike if Israel decides on a retaliatory attack.

US President Joe Biden said the American military helped Israel take down nearly all of the incoming drones and missiles launched by Iran.

"Earlier today, Iran and its proxies operating out of Yemen, Syria and Iraq, launched an unprecedented air attack against military facilities in Israel. I condemn these attacks in the strongest possible terms," he said in a statement.

"At my direction, to support the defence of Israel, the US military moved aircraft and ballistic missile defense destroyers to the region over the course of the past week," Biden said.

"Thanks to these deployments and the extraordinary skill of our servicemembers, we helped Israel take down nearly all of the incoming drones and missiles," he said.

The US president also spoke to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and reaffirmed Washington's "ironclad" commitment to the security of Israel.

"Tomorrow, I will convene my fellow G7 leaders to coordinate a united diplomatic response to Iran's brazen attack. My team will engage with their counterparts across the region," Biden said.

"And we will stay in close touch with Israel's leaders. And while we have not seen attacks on our forces or facilities today, we will remain vigilant to all threats and will not hesitate to take all necessary action to protect our people," he said.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres also strongly condemned Iran's attack on Israel.

"I strongly condemn the serious escalation represented by the large-scale attack launched on Israel by the Islamic Republic of Iran," he said.

Guterres also called for an immediate cessation of the hostilities.

"I am deeply alarmed about the very real danger of a devastating region-wide escalation. I urge all parties to exercise maximum restraint to avoid any action that could lead to major military confrontations on multiple fronts in the Middle East," he said.

Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Telegraph Online staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.

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