“Heightened Menace in the Indian Ocean Region”: S Jaishankar Voices Concerns

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Describing the attacks on ships near India as a matter of serious concern to the global community, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar stated on Monday that these threats directly impact India’s energy and economic interests. He emphasized that this tense situation is not beneficial to any party involved.

Speaking at a joint press statement following extensive discussions with Iranian counterpart Hossein Amirabdollahian, Jaishankar highlighted the recent increase in dangers faced by maritime commercial traffic in the Indian Ocean region.

He stressed the importance of promptly addressing this issue, specifically referring to the targeting of merchant vessels in the Red Sea by Iranian-backed Yemen’s Houthi rebels during the Israel-Hamas conflict.

Jaishankar stated, “We have also witnessed attacks in the vicinity of India. This is a matter of great concern for the international community. Obviously, it also directly affects India’s energy and economic interests. This situation is detrimental to all parties involved and must be acknowledged.”

These remarks come as a Houthi missile struck a US-owned ship near the Yemen coast in the Gulf of Aden. A day earlier, the Houthis fired an anti-ship cruise missile at an American destroyer in the Red Sea, as reported.

Last week, the US and the UK launched airstrikes targeting Houthi positions in Yemen.

India has been closely monitoring the situation in the Red Sea. The Indian Navy has increased the presence of frontline ships and surveillance aircraft to enhance maritime security operations in the strategically important sea lanes, including the North and Central Arabian Sea.

During the ongoing high-level exchanges between India and Iran, Minister Jaishankar mentioned that both countries share concerns about recent events in West Asia and stressed the importance of preventing further escalation of violence and hostilities in the region.

He described the situation in Gaza as deeply concerning and emphasized the focus on civilian lives, particularly of women and children. Addressing the humanitarian crisis, he expressed the need for sustainable humanitarian corridors and appreciated the international community’s efforts towards that goal.

Jaishankar added, “India itself has provided relief material to Gaza and contributed to the UNRWA.”

In reference to Palestine, he reiterated India’s longstanding support for a two-state solution, ensuring that the Palestinian people can live freely in an independent country within secure borders.

“I emphasized the importance of all parties avoiding provocative and escalatory actions, and facilitating dialogue and diplomacy,” he concluded.