"Developments Have Taken Serious Turn": India After US Kills Iran General

'Developments Have Taken Serious Turn': India After US Kills Iran General
New Delhi:

Foreign minister S Jaishankar today termed the ongoing US-Iran face-off "very serious". On Friday, US President Donald Trump had announced that top Iranian general Qasem Soleimani was killed in a US air attack. The war of words since has spiralled, with President Trump threatening to target 52 cultural sites in Iran if the Islamic republic attacks American personnel or assets.

A tweet from Dr Jaishankar's official twitter handle this evening read: "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."

While US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called his counterparts in several countries and the Pakistan army chief after the Iraq strike, he has not called India's External Affairs Ministry.

India has been a traditional ally of Iran and had managed to work around US sanctions on purchase of Iranian oil for a while. The imports stopped in May last year. .

Qasem Soleimani - described as the second most-powerful man in Iran -- was killed in a US strike on Friday in action that is considered a dramatic escalation in the simmering hostilities.

Washington said he was planning imminent action that threatened American citizens.

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President Trump, however, assured that the US took action to stop a war. "We did not take action to start a war," President Trump said, adding: "We do not seek regime change."

The next day, as Iran's supreme leader Ayatullah Khamenei warned of "severe revenge", India called for restraint.

"The increase in tension has alarmed the world. Peace, stability and security in this region is of utmost importance to India. It is vital that the situation does not escalate further. India has consistently advocated restraint and continues to do so," the government said in a statement.

In first hints of retaliation, mortar attacks took place in an area near the US embassy in Baghdad on Saturday. Two rockets slammed into the Al-Balad air base where American troops are deployed.