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Attacks on ship in Red Sea would impact India’s energy and economic interests: S Jaishankar

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NEW DELHI : In the ongoing conflict, the Houthi rebels in Yemen have targeted ships, including those with connections to Israel in the Red Sea. This has led to a confrontation with the US as one of its cargo ships was destroyed by the Houthi rebels in the Gulf of Aden on Monday.

The Red Sea connects the Indian Ocean to the Mediterranean by the Suez Canal.

When News18 spoke with External Affairs Minister Shri S Jaishankar about the issue at large and why were the vessels being targeted by the Houthis, he said, “We have multiple phenomena out there… we had piracy, resurfacing of piracy. That’s a different problem. The drone strikes and missile strikes are different problems… so both factors are important but the second one is more. It (the issue) has started to divert shipping and that has its cost”.

He further said such attacks would impact India’s energy and economic interests. He stressed that the issue should be “speedily addressed”.

On Tuesday, the U.S. military carried out new strikes in Yemen against anti-ship ballistic missiles in a Houthi-controlled part of the country as a missile struck a Greek-owned vessel in the Red Sea.

Attacks by the Iran-allied Houthi militia on ships in the region since November have affected companies and alarmed major powers – an escalation of Israel’s more than three-month-old war with Palestinian Hamas militants in Gaza. The Houthis say they are acting in solidarity with Palestinians and have threatened to expand attacks to include U.S. ships in response to American and British strikes on their sites in Yemen.

Several shipping lines have announced that they are diverting around the Cape of Good Hope to reach Europe after Houthis are hitting vessels in the Red Sea. The latest one was the Greek-owned bulk carrier Zograflia from Vietnam to Israel, which was struck by Houthis on January 17.

Shri Jaishankar, who was on an official visit to Iran, met Iran President Ebrahim Raisi on January 16 regarding speeding up the implementation of bilateral agreements, including the Chabahar Port Development Plan.

Raisi highlighted importance of Iran-India ties, but raised concerns regarding Israel’s counter offensive in Gaza, and urged India to help in ending the bombings.

“The President described the crimes committed by Zionist regime in Gaza as clear examples of war crimes and crimes against humanity, and clarified stopping the attacks on Gaza, punishing the Zionist regime and fulfilling the rights of Palestinian people is the only way to return stability and security to the region. It is important for India to play a role in ending the bombings, lifting the blockade of this region and realising the rights of the Palestinian people,” Raisi’s statement said.

According to The Wall Street Journal, British oil giant Shell on Tuesday announced suspending all of its shipment through the Red Sea infinitely.

US and British warplanes, ships and submarines last week launched dozens of air strikes across Yemen in retaliation to Houthi attack on Red Sea shipping, which the Iran-backed movement considers as a response to Israel’s offensive in Gaza.

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