US-Iran tensions: Rajnath raises India's concerns with US

US-Iran tensions: Rajnath raises India's concerns with US

Rajnath Singh. (File Photo: IANS)

New Delhi, Jan 9 (IANS) Amid escalated tensions between Iran and the US, Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday held talks with US counterpart Mark Esper to discuss the developments in the Gulf and shared "India's stakes, interests and concerns". Esper, who called the Indian Defence Minister to discuss the prevailing situation in the Gulf region, briefed him about the recent developments in the region. Rajnath Singh also resolved to strengthen bilateral defence cooperation. Rajnath Singh also had discussions with his Japanese counterpart Taro Kono over the regional security situation. "The two Defence Ministers had discussions on enhancing the bilateral security cooperation under the framework of the India-Japan Special Strategic and Global Partnership. They also exchanged views on regional security situation," Defence Ministry spokesperson, Bharat Bhushan Babu, told IANS. On Wednesday, Iranian Ambassador to India, Ali Chegeni to India, said that Iran will welcome any peace initiative from India for de-escalating tensions in West Asia following the assassination of General Qasem Soleimani. "India usually plays a very good role in peace in the world. At the same time India belongs to this region. We welcome all initiatives from all countries, especially India as a good friend for us, to not allow escalation (of tensions)," Chegeni told media persons. He made a statement after Iran launched missile strikes against two US military bases in Iraq in retaliation. Iran had pledged retaliatory attacks against the US for killing Soleimani, the country's most powerful and revered military leader, whom Washington accused of plotting imminent attacks against US forces in the region. Iran had launched more than a dozen ballistic missiles at the Ain al-Assad airbase in Iraq's Anbar province and a facility in Erbil which has US Army facilities. To this, US President Donald Trump had said on Wednesday there had been no US casualties and damage was minimal. Trump had also given no indication that the US will respond militarily to Iran's attacks on Iraqi bases hosting US troops.

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