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India’s foreign minister to travel to Iran

India’s foreign minister will make a two-day trip to Iran from Sunday, following Western air strikes against Yemen’s Huthi rebels over the Tehran-backed group’s attacks on vessels in the Red Sea. S. Jaishankar’s visit also comes a month after a drone attack on a ship near Indian waters that the United States blamed on Iran. A government statement issued Saturday said that Jaishankar would meet his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amir-Abdollahian to discuss “bilateral, regional and global issues”, without giving further detail. The Huthis have carried out scores of drone and missile strikes on the key international route through the Red Sea since the start of Israel’s war in Gaza, which was triggered by Hamas’s attack on Israel on October 7. Many vessels have been rerouted from the Red Sea due to drone and missile attacks carried out by the Huthi rebels in solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza. India has significantly stepped up its own maritime patrols in the Arabian Sea to “maintain a deterrent presence” after the string of attacks on vessels. In December a drone attack hit the MV Chem Pluto oil tanker 200 nautical miles (370 kilometres) off the coast of India, which the United States blamed on Iran — claims Tehran dubbed “worthless”. Earlier this month India’s navy said it had rescued 21 crew members from a vessel in the Arabian Sea after a hijacking distress call. Jaishankar said Thursday he had spoken to US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken about “maritime security challenges, especially (in) the Red Sea region”.

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