NEW DELHI: India on Monday raised concerns with Iran about the increasing number of attacks on merchant ships in the Red Sea by Tehran-backed Yemen’s Houthi rebels.
“There has been a perceptible increase in threats to the safety of maritime commercial traffic in this important part of the Indian Ocean. We have even seen some attacks in the vicinity of India. This is a matter of grave concern to the international community. Obviously, it also has a direct bearing on India’s energy and economic interests. This situation is not to the benefit of any party, and this must be clearly recognised,” said external affairs minister S Jaishankar, who is currently in Iran as part of ongoing high-level exchanges between the two countries.
To ensure maritime security in critical sea lanes, including the north and central Arabian Sea, the Indian Navy has increased the deployment of frontline ships and surveillance aircraft.
The US and the UK have responded with airstrikes targeting Houthi positions in Yemen, prompting India to closely monitor the situation in the Red Sea. US President Joe Biden has stated that he is prepared to take further action in response to these attacks.
India, Iran ink deal on Chabahar port
Jaishankar and his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amirabdollahian also held extensive discussions regarding India’s long-term involvement with the strategically important Chabahar port in Baluchistan and the North-South connectivity project.
Earlier in the day, Jaishankar and Iranian minister of urban development Mehrdad Bazrpash reached a final agreement to jointly develop the Chabahar port
They also exchanged views on the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC).
The Chabahar port, located in Iran’s Sistan-Balochistan province, is a joint project between India and Iran aimed at enhancing connectivity and trade ties. India sees the port as crucial for regional trade, particularly its connectivity with Afghanistan.
The port also plays a significant role in the INSTC project, which aims to facilitate freight movement between India, Iran, Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Russia, Central Asia, and Europe, covering a distance of 7,200 km.