India is very concerned over escalating hostilities between Iran and Israel and New Delhi has told the countries to “calm down,” External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said on Monday, amid spiralling tension in the Middle East.

Iran carried out its first direct attack on Israel on Saturday in response to a suspected Israeli strike on its consulate in Damascus on April 1 that killed seven Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guards including a senior general.

“We have been telling them not to allow this (the situation) to escalate and that this is a very crucial region for the global economy,” he told reporters here.

Jaishankar emphasised that the stability of the Middle East region was essential because about one crore Indian citizens live there and said, “a large part of our shipping passes through this region and also, oil comes from there.” “This is an enormously sensitive region. So we are very concerned when there is this kind of escalation and hostilities. So our effort has been to tell both of them to calm down. So yesterday, I made a phone call to both, not only Iran (Foreign Minister) Hossein Amir-Abdollahian but also I called up my Israeli counterpart (Israel Katz),” Jaishankar said.

“We also understand that they have concerns. I’m only saying that for the rest of the world and definitely for India, we would like to find ways of de-escalating the situation,” he added.

To a question on the adverse impact of the Iran-Israel conflict, Jaishankar said in a globalised world, no country can remain unaffected.However, the government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has the “guts to take the right decision.” (IE)