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Jaishankar discusses tense situation in Gulf with Pompeo, Zarif; voices India’s concerns

NEW DELHI: External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Sunday held telephonic conversations with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, voicing India’s concerns over the escalating tensions in the Gulf region after the killing of Iranian military commander Qasem Soleimani.

Jaishankar also separately spoke with Omani Foreign Minister Yusuf Alawi and his UAE counterpart Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan on the tense situation in the region.

The External Affairs Minister’s telephonic conversations came as concerns mounted across the globe over fast-deteriorating diplomatic ties between the US and Iran, and the spiralling tensions in the Gulf after Soleimani, the head of Iran’s elite al-Quds force and architect of its regional security apparatus, was killed when a US drone fired missiles into a convoy that was leaving the Baghdad International Airport.

Noting that developments have taken a “very serious turn”, Jaishankar said he had a conversation with Zarif and asserted that India remains deeply concerned about the levels of tension in the region.

“Just concluded a conversation with FM @JZarif of Iran. Noted that developments have taken a very serious turn. India remains deeply concerned about the levels of tension. We agreed to remain in touch,” the External Affairs Minister tweeted after his discussion with Zarif.

After his discussion with Pompeo, Jaishankar tweeted, “Had a telephonic discussion with Secretary of State @SecPompeo on the evolving situation in the Gulf region. Highlighted India’s stakes and concerns.”

Pompeo also took to Twitter and said, “Dr S Jaishankar and I spoke just now regarding Iran’s continued threats and provocations. The Trump Administration won’t hesitate to act to keep American lives, and those of our friends and allies, safe.”