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Business News/ News / India/  India calls for 'immediate de-escalation' after Iran launches missiles at Israel — What's at stake for New Delhi?
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India calls for 'immediate de-escalation' after Iran launches missiles at Israel — What's at stake for New Delhi?

India expresses serious concern over Israel-Iran hostilities, calls for de-escalation and return to diplomacy. Ministry of External Affairs closely monitors situation, Embassies stays in touch with Indian community in region.

Iranians burn an Israeli flag during a rally marking Quds Day and the funeral of members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps who were killed in a suspected Israeli airstrike on the Iranian embassy complex in the Syrian capital Damascus (via REUTERS)Premium
Iranians burn an Israeli flag during a rally marking Quds Day and the funeral of members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps who were killed in a suspected Israeli airstrike on the Iranian embassy complex in the Syrian capital Damascus (via REUTERS)

India called for an “immediate de-escalation" on Sunday after Iran launched hundreds of missiles towards Israel. The Ministry of External Affairs is closely monitoring the situation and its embassies in the region remain in touch with citizens. New Delhi — which has strategic ties with both Iran and Israel — now finds itself walking a diplomatic tightrope amid escalating concerns about a wider Middle East war.

“We are seriously concerned at the escalation of hostilities between Israel and Iran which threatens the peace and security in the region. We call for immediate de-escalation, exercise of restraint, stepping back from violence and return to the path of diplomacy. We are closely monitoring the evolving situation. Our Embassies in the region are in close touch with Indian community. It is vital that security and stability are maintained in the region," read an official statement from the Ministry of External Affairs. 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi also stressed the importance of a "strong and stable government with a full majority" ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.

ALSO READ: ‘Security of Indians our priority’ : PM Modi calls for full majority govt amid Iran-Israel conflict

India currently maintains ties with both Israel and Iran and has made efforts to remain neutral amid the war in Gaza. New Delhi had strongly condemned the Hamas attack on October 7 last year as well as the massive loss of civilian lives in the ongoing conflict. The Ministry of External Affairs has also reiterated India's long-standing support for a negotiated two State solution that would see the “establishment of a sovereign, independent and viable State of Palestine within secure and recognized borders living side by side in peace with Israel".

The India-Israel partnership — first cemented during the Kargil War in 1999 — has gained momentum in the past decade. It now spans several sectors including defence and security with Tel Aviv emerging as one of the country's major defence suppliers. Bilateral trade has also progressed rapidly with merchandise trade reaching around $ 10.7 billion (excluding defence) in FY 2022-23, with Indian exports at around $ 8.4 billion.

Meanwhile, the Indian import of Iranian crude oil dominates its commercial ties with Tehran. The country had imported $ 12.11 bn worth of crude oil from Iran in 2018-19 before implementing a curb in mid-2019. The development came after the Donald Trump-led US administration opted against renewing waiver that let countries like India buy Iranian oil without facing US sanctions. During this time, however, Indian exports to Iran grew significantly. Reports earlier this year suggest that India is considering the reinstatement of crude oil shipments from Iran amid a growing threat from Houthi insurgents in the Red Sea. 

(With inputs from agencies)

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Published: 14 Apr 2024, 07:43 PM IST
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