Saturday 4 January 2020 3:15 AM UTC
New Delhi Jan 4: Amid soaring tensions between the United States and Iran, Indian airlines have been asked to avoid the Iranian airspace, sources said today. National carrier Air India and IndiGo, one of the biggest airlines of the country, will be exercising caution in flight operations over the Iranian airspace.
This comes hours after top Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani was killed in a US strike on Baghdad’s international airport which led to a dramatic escalation between the two countries.
India has also expressed concern over the escalation and said it should be “vital that the situation does not escalate further” and called for restraint between the two countries.
“We have noted that a senior Iranian leader has been killed by the US. 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,” India said in a statement.
Last year too, due to rising geopolitical tensions between the US and Iran after the latter shot down a US drone in its airspace, Indian airlines avoided the “affected part of the Iranian airspace” and rerouted flights.
Today’s strike, which was ordered by US President Donald Trump, also killed the deputy chief of Iraq’s paramilitary force, the Hashed al-Shaabi. The missile bombardment hit a Hashed convoy and killed eight people, including “important figures”.
After the attack, Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warned of “severe revenge”, vowing that “God willing, his work and his path will not be stopped”.
The US in turn, called the missile attack on Iran’s top military commander “a decisive defensive action to protect US personnel abroad”.
The Pentagon said that Soleimani had orchestrated attacks on coalition bases in Iraq over the past months, adding that the strike was an attempt at “deterring future Iranian attack plans”.
Iraq condemned the attack, saying “aggression” would “spark a devastating war”.
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