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India supports free movement of commercial shipping: MEA

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NEW DELHI : Emphasising India’s support for free movement of commercial shipping, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi while referring to the ongoing attacks in the Red Sea, said that this is something India is interested in and will continue to monitor. While addressing a weekly presser on Thursday, MEA Spokesperson said, “India has always been supportive of the free movement of commercial shipping so, that is something that we are interested in. We are, of course, monitoring the developments there.” He further highlighted that India is also part of international efforts to ensure free shipping.

“We are also part of international efforts to ensure free shipping, whether it be piracy or otherwise, India has been involved in it. So we will continue to monitor that,” he added.

Since the Israel-Hamas war broke out on October 7, the Iranian-backed Houthis have joined in with other militia groups across the Middle East in assaulting US positions and assets, The Hill reported.

Houthi forces in Yemen have been targeting commercial ships in the Red Sea, claiming the attacks as revenge against Israel, including seizing a boat last month in a daring raid.

Oil giant BP announced on Monday that it would pause all shipments through the Red Sea due to the “deteriorating security situation,” marking the latest shipping firm to pause routes through the channel.

Further highlighting the Operation Prosperity Guardian by the US, he said that we have been part of efforts to ensure the safe transit of ships in the Arabian Sea.

“There was some communication regarding this task force operation…We have been part of efforts to ensure the safe transit of ships in the Arabian Sea and we value the free movement of commercial shipping,” he added.

The US has announced the creation of an international coalition against Houthi attacks on international maritime trade in the Red Sea, The Hill reported.

Operation Prosperity Guardian will involve the navies of Bahrain, Canada, France, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Seychelles, Spain, the UK and the US. The task force falls under the Combined Maritime Forces, a multinational alliance tasked with defending the world’s shipping lanes.

The US and other naval forces already operate in the Red Sea region to defend commercial shipping, but the new task force is expected to ramp up security.

Recently, Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi had a telephone conversation with his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu. The two leaders shared concerns regarding the safety of maritime traffic. PM Modi reiterated the need for continued humanitarian aid for the impacted people. He further stressed an early and peaceful resolution of the conflict, including the release of all hostages, through dialogue and diplomacy.In a post on X, Israel Prime Minister’s Office stated, “Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke with Indian Prime Minister @NarendraModi. The two leaders discussed the importance of securing freedom of navigation in the Bab-el-Mandeb, which is threatened by the aggression of the Houthis, instigated by Iran.

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