Jaishankar holds crucial talks with Iranian counterpart on Chabahar, Red Sea crisis

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, engaged in substantive discussions with his Iranian counterpart, Hossein Amirabdollahian, during his two-day visit to Iran. The talks centred on pivotal issues, including the Chabahar Port Project, the Red Sea crisis, and India’s stance on international affairs.

| Updated: 16 January, 2024 12:55 pm IST

NEW DELHI: External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, engaged in substantive discussions with his Iranian counterpart, Hossein Amirabdollahian, during his two-day visit to Iran. The talks centred on pivotal issues, including the Chabahar Port Project, the Red Sea crisis, and India’s stance on international affairs.

Expressing concern over recent attacks on ships near India, Jaishankar deemed it a “grave concern.” In a joint press address, he highlighted the importance of preventing further escalation of violence and hostilities in West Asia, emphasising the ongoing discussions on regional and global issues. The visit holds significance amid the escalating West Asian conflict and challenges in the Red Sea.

Addressing the Houthi Militia’s attacks on India-linked shipping vessels, Jaishankar stressed the urgency of addressing the issue promptly. Iran is known to have close ties with the Houthi Militia, which has targeted several Indian vessels in the Red Sea since mid-November.

Iranian Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian accused the US and UK of escalating tensions in the region and called for an immediate halt to the war against Yemen. Recent incidents include a missile fired by Houthis at a US-owned ship off the coast of Yemen and an anti-ship cruise missile directed at an American destroyer in the Red Sea.

The discussion between the two ministers focused on the long-term framework for India’s engagement with the strategically vital Chabahar port and the North-South connectivity project. Jaishankar emphasised India’s commitment to the Chabahar port, which allows access to markets in Central Asia, Afghanistan, and Eurasia, bypassing Pakistan.

India’s significant investment in the Chabahar Port holds both strategic and economic importance, enabling access to land-locked Afghanistan and Central Asian countries while countering China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

Jaishankar reiterated India’s support for the creation of an independent Palestinian state, underscoring the imperative to avoid civilian casualties in conflict situations. He addressed the humanitarian crisis in Gaza and stressed India’s commitment to a two-state solution for Palestine.

The talks also covered developments in Afghanistan, with Jaishankar conveying greetings from PM Modi to President Ebrahim Raisi. The discussions aimed at advancing stability and security in Afghanistan, reflecting India’s longstanding dialogue on the matter.

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