External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Monday said attacks on ships in the vicinity of India is a matter of “grave concern” to the international community and such threats have a direct bearing on India’s energy and economic interest, underlining that this “fraught situation” is not to the benefit of any party.
As part of his two-day visit to Iran, Jaishankar called upon President Ebrahim Raisi and conveyed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s greetings, also seeking Raisi’s guidance on “further development of ties” between the two nations.
Jaishankar, who is visiting Iran in the middle of an escalating West Asian conflict and challenging situations in the Red Sea, also had meetings with his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amirabdollahian, Secretary of the National Security Council Ali Akbar Ahmadian, and Minister of Roads and Urban Development Mehrdad Bazrpash, with whom he discussed cooperation on the strategically vital Chabahar port.
“Conveyed the greetings of PM Narendra Modi. Expressed condolences over the Kerman attack,” Jaishankar posted on X after his meeting with Raisi, adding, “Apprised him of my productive discussions with the Iranian Ministers. Value his guidance for further development of ties.”
Modi and Raisi recently met in Johannesburg, and have been in frequent touch through letters and phone.
In Tehran, Jaishankar, while reiterating India’s “uncompromising position against terrorism in all forms and manifestations”, also spoke about “the deeply concerning situation in Gaza”, which he said, figured during his discussions with Amirabdollahian, among other things.
Speaking at a joint press statement with Iranian foreign affairs minister, Jaishankar said, “We exchanged perspectives and assessments on certain regional and global issues and developments. Both of us are concerned about the recent events in West Asia, and we emphasised the importance of preventing further escalation of violence and hostilities.”
“India has a long-standing and uncompromising position against terrorism in all forms and manifestations. This remains so very much. At the same time, we strongly believe that it is imperative to avoid loss of civilian life in any conflict situation,” he said.
“I stressed on the need for all parties to avoid provocative and escalatory actions, and to facilitate movement towards dialogue and diplomacy,” he said during the press statement.
He also spoke about threats to maritime shipping in the region and stressed that it’s important that this issue is “speedily addressed”, in an apparent reference to targeting of merchant vessels in the Red Sea by Iranian-backed Yemen’s Houthi rebels.
“We have even seen some attacks in the vicinity of India. This is a matter of great concern to the international community. Obviously, it also has a direct bearing on India’s energy and economic interests. This fraught situation is not to the benefit of any party and this must be clearly recognised,” he said.
Talking about discussions on the Gaza situation, he said, “The loss of civilian lives, especially that of women and children, was our primary focus. There is a visible humanitarian crisis that needs to be addressed and the creation of sustainable humanitarian corridors is the need of the day. We welcome the international community’s efforts in that direction. India has delivered shipments of relief material to Gaza and contributed to the UNRWA,” the minister said.
Jaishankar began his engagements in Iran on Monday by meeting Bazrpash after which the two sides reached a final agreement to develop Chabahar port in southeastern Iran.