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Rajnath Singh holds telephonic conversation with US Defence Secy, Japanese Def Minister


New Delhi, Jan 09: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday held telephonic conversations with US Secretary of Defence Mark T Esper and his Japanese counterpart Taro Kono with a focus on evolving security situation in the Gulf region following killing of a top Iranian commander last week.

Rajnath Singh holds telephonic conversation with US Defence Secy, Japanese Def Minister

Officials said Singh conveyed to Esper India's stakes and interests in the Gulf region and how concerned New Delhi is over the escalating tension there.

"We expressed firm resolve to strengthen the bilateral defence cooperation. He (Esper) also briefed me about the recent developments in the Gulf Region. I shared India's concerns and interests in the region," Singh tweeted.

The tension escalated rapidly in the Gulf region after Maj Gen Soleimani, the head of Iran's elite al-Quds force, was killed in a US drone attack. On Wednesday, Iran launched over a dozen ballistic missiles targeting at least two bases where US military and coalition forces' are stationed in Iraq.

Tehran said it was a "slap in the face" of America. Soleimani's killing was the most dramatic escalation yet in spiralling tensions between Iran and the US. India on Thursday said it would like the situation to de-escalate as soon as possible and was in touch with important players in the Gulf region.

In their telephonic conversation, Singh and Kono also exchanged views on regional security scenario. "The two defence ministers had discussions on enhancing the bilateral security cooperation under the framework of the India-Japan special strategic and global partnership," the defence ministry said. Officials said the two ministers also exchanged views on fast evolving security scenario in the Gulf region.

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