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‘Deeply Concerned Over Security Situation’: India on Houthi Attacks in the Red Sea

The comments by external affairs ministry spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal came hours after an Indian warship intercepted a cargo vessel with 22 crew members, as it came under a drone strike in the Gulf of Aden late on January 17. (Image: ANI/File)

The comments by external affairs ministry spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal came hours after an Indian warship intercepted a cargo vessel with 22 crew members, as it came under a drone strike in the Gulf of Aden late on January 17. (Image: ANI/File)

The Houthi militants have been attacking merchant vessels in the Red Sea since November, apparently in response to Israel’s military offensive in Gaza

India on Thursday said it is “deeply concerned” over the unfolding security situation in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, noting that it is closely monitoring the developments in the critical sea lanes. The comments by external affairs ministry spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal came hours after an Indian warship intercepted a cargo vessel with 22 crew members, including nine Indians, as it came under a drone strike in the Gulf of Aden late on Wednesday (January 17).

“We are deeply concerned about the whole situation. It is an important shipping lane not just for India but for the world,” Jaiswal said at his weekly media briefing, replying to a question on the situation in the Red Sea, a region with strategic significance as around 15 percent of global trade passes through it via the Bab al-Mandab Strait.

The Houthi militants have been attacking merchant vessels in the Red Sea since November, apparently in response to Israel’s military offensive in Gaza. “We are concerned over what is happening, the deterioration in the security situation,” Jaiswal said, adding the Indian Navy has been carrying out patrolling in key sea lanes.

He said the navy is trying to do its best to secure the Indian shipping lanes and also giving support to others, reaffirming India’s emphasis on freedom of navigation and commerce in the maritime domain. The US and UK have already launched air strikes targeting the Houthi positions in Yemen.

“It is a matter of concern to us. We give a lot of importance to freedom of navigation and freedom of commerce in that region. Whatever is happening there not just impacts us, but it also impacts economic interests and several other interests of so many people across the world,” Jaiswal said on the situation in the Red Sea.

He added: “We are closely monitoring the situation and looking at the unfolding situation with a constant watch.”

During his recent visit to Tehran, external affairs minister S Jaishankar discussed the situation in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden with his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amir-Abdollahian.

Asked about Pakistan carrying out a retaliatory missile attack on alleged Baloch separatist camps inside Iran, Jaiswal chose not to comment on it. On Wednesday, India backed Iran’s deadly missile attack targeting terror bases in western Pakistan, saying it understands actions that countries take in self-defence.

India also stressed that it has “an uncompromising” position of “zero tolerance” towards terrorism. Asked about South Africa accusing Israel of committing genocide against the Palestinians following the Hamas’s October 7 attack on Israeli cities, Jaiswal did not give a direct reply but said India’s position on Israel-Hamas conflict has been consistent.

“Our position has been consistent and steadfast. We have condemned terrorism; we have called for release of hostages and have sought protection of civilians. We also called for humanitarian assistance and we stand for a long-term two-state solution,” he said.

(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed – PTI)

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