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Iran calls on India to continue efforts to stop Gaza war

The foreign ministers of the two countries discussed the situation after Tehran launched its first direct attack on Israel

Iran has urged India to maintain an “active role” in efforts to halt the war in Gaza through international bodies, such as the United Nations Security Council. Discussing Tehran’s retaliatory attack on West Jerusalem with his Indian counterpart Subrahmanyam Jaishankar on Sunday, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian stressed “the imperative of ending the aggression and crimes committed by the Zionist regime.” 

Jaishankar spoke to his opposite numbers in Tehran and Tel Aviv following Iran’s drone and missile attack on Israel in response to an April 1 airstrike on its consulate in Damascus. Israel’s attack killed several high-profile officers of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Quds Force.

During his call with the Iranian foreign minister, Jaishakar stressed the importance of de-escalating and asked the parties “to assume responsibility and work towards a peaceful resolution.” In the immediate aftermath of Iran’s attack, New Delhi issued a statement calling for “immediate de-escalation, exercise of restraint, stepping back from violence, and return to the path of diplomacy.”

The diplomats also discussed the fate of the Indian crew members of the Israeli-operated vessel MSC Aries, which was seized by Iran in the Persian Gulf last week. Tehran has said it will allow New Delhi officials to meet the 17 sailors.

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The Indian leadership has advocated a two-state solution to the Israeli–Palestinian conflict while calling for both sides to engage in talks.

Last October, India abstained on a UN General Assembly resolution that called for a truce as it did not mention Hamas’ attack. In December, however, New Delhi voted in favor of a resolution that demanded an immediate humanitarian ceasefire and the unconditional release of all hostages. Earlier this month, India abstained on a proposal at the UN’s Human Rights Council to call for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and an arms embargo on Israel. 

India’s push for de-escalation in the region stems from strategic, economic, and humanitarian concerns, Indian Express noted in a report. Around 18,000 Indians live in Israel and about 5,000-10,000 in Iran. At the same time, the number of Indians living, working, and studying in the Gulf countries exceeds nine million people, and a large-scale conflict could disrupt the lives of the diaspora.

Moreover, the Middle East accounts for about 80% of India’s oil supplies, and a conflict could send energy prices soaring. 


READ MORE: A Bridge Too Far? Why Israel-Palestine war is a setback for economic corridor connecting India to Europe

A regional war might also derail two ambitious transportation corridors that New Delhi considers vital for expanding its trade with Europe, Central Asia, and Russia. These are the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC) connecting India with Russia and the CIS region via Iran – bypassing volatile parts of the Middle East – and the proposed India-Middle-East-Europe Economic corridor (EMEC) connecting India via the ports of the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Israel. 

 

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April 15, 2024 at 05:52PM
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