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India calls for restraint in Middle East after Iran’s retaliatory strike on Israel 

Tehran launched over 300 missiles and drones into Israel on Saturday after an Israeli strike on its embassy compound in Syria on 1 April 

India calls for restraint in Middle East after Iran’s retaliatory strike on Israel 
[Source photo: Chetan Jha/Press Insider]

India on Sunday called for immediate de-escalation, exercise of restraint, stepping back from violence, and return to the path of diplomacy as Iran’s retaliatory attack on Israel triggered concerns of a wider regional conflict in the Middle East. 

“We are seriously concerned at the escalation of hostilities between Israel and Iran which threatens the peace and security in the region,” the ministry of external affairs said, adding that New Delhi was closely monitoring the evolving situation. 

“Our embassies in the region are in close touch with the Indian community,” the ministry said. 

“It is vital that security and stability are maintained in the region,” it added. 

Iran launched over 300 missiles and drones into Israel on Saturday after an Israeli strike on its embassy compound in Syria on 1 April killed a top Islamic  Revolutionary Guards commander. 

Most of the projectiles and aircraft were shot down by Israel’s Iron Dome defense system, helped by the US, Britain, France, and Jordan. Only a handful of ballistic missiles are said to have landed in Israeli territory. 

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The damage caused by the attack was also nominal. A 7-year-old was injured by a shrapnel and an Israeli Air Force base was hit but did not sustain much damage. 

Iranian foreign minister Hossein Amirabdollahian said Washington had been informed that the attack on Israel would be limited and for self-defense. Turkey, Jordan, and Iraq said that Iran gave wide notice days before the attack. 

While a section of Israel’s war cabinet sought retaliation, US President Joe Biden told Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu the US will not take part in a counter-offensive against Iran, Reuters reported.

“We will build a regional coalition and exact the price from Iran in the fashion and timing that is right for us,” Benny Gantz, a minister without portfolio in Netanyahu’s war cabinet, said.

Iran warned that any retaliation by Israel would be met by an even larger response. 

“Our response will be much larger than tonight’s military action if Israel retaliates against Iran,” Iranian army chief of staff Major General Mohammad Bagheri said.

He also told Washington that its bases in the region would become a target if it helped Israel retaliate.

India’s response

Indian foreign minister S. Jaishankar spoke to his counterparts in Israel and Iran, and called for de-escalation. 

“Just concluded a conversation with Israel FM @Israel_katz. Shared our concern at the developments yesterday. Discussed the larger regional situation. Agreed to stay in touch,” Jaishankar said in a post on X (formerly Twitter). 

On Saturday, Iranian commandos seized an Israeli-affiliated  Portuguese-flagged container ship carrying 17 Indian crew members.

Iranian media reported that Iranian troops rappelled down from a helicopter onto MSC Aries, associated with Israeli billionaire Eyal Ofer’s Zodiac Group.

In a call with the Iranian foreign minister, Jaishankar discussed the release of Indian crew members. 

“Spoke to Iranian FM @Amirabdolahian this evening. Took up the release of 17 Indian crew members of MSC Aries,” Jaishankar said in a post on X. 

“Discussed the current situation in the region. Stressed the importance of avoiding escalation, exercising restraint and returning to diplomacy.  Agreed to remain in touch,” he added. 

Earlier on 12 April, New Delhi issued a travel advisory for its citizens, warning them against traveling to Israel and Iran. 

“In view of the prevailing situation in the region, all Indians are advised not to travel to Iran or Israel till further notice,” the MEA said. 

It also asked Indian citizens residing in Iran or Israel to get in touch with Indian Embassies there and register themselves.

“They are also requested to observe utmost precautions about their safety and restrict their movements to the minimum,” it said. 

Meanwhile, Air India has temporarily suspended its flights to Tel Aviv.

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