After Iran and the US confirmed the death of the top Iranian Commander Qasem Soleimani by a Pentagon strike on Baghdad's international airport on the directives of US President Donald Trump, India, in a statement called for calm and restraint over the prevailing situation. In a statement, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) acknowledging the death of the senior Iranian official, asserted that peace, stability, and security of the region are of utmost significance to New Delhi.
MEA in a statement said, "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."
Pentagon announced that the airstrike on Baghdad's airport to kill Soleimani was on the directions of the US President. In a statement, Pentagon said, "General Soleimani was actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region." It said Soleimani "had orchestrated attacks on coalition bases in Iraq over the last several months."
The airstrike also killed Iraqi Shia militia Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis. The attack comes in retaliation to the attack on the US Embassy in Baghdad this week. In the aftermath of the attack, Iran's Supreme Leader Khamenei declared three days of mourning for Soleimani, and, threatened the US saying "a harsh retaliation is waiting." In a similar tone, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani asserted that Iran will take "revenge" against the US.
Soon after, the impact was seen on the oil prices that jumped over 4% on Friday after the senior Iranian and Iraqi military officials were killed. The US urged its citizens to 'immediately' leave Iraq citing "heightened tensions in Iraq and the region." Further, Israel put its military on high-alert. The attack drew condemnation from Syria as it called the act a "treacherous, criminal American aggression". While pro-Hezbollah newspaper in Lebanon said called it a "war." The attack drew condemnation from Syria as it called the act a "treacherous, criminal American aggression". While pro-Hezbollah newspaper in Lebanon said called it a "war."
Soleimani's IRGC, which was designated as a foreign terrorist organisation by Donald Trump in April last year, backed Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the 2011 civil war and to battle the Islamic State in Iraq and Levant (ISIS). Soleimani had been rumoured dead several times, including in a 2006 airplane crash that killed other military officials in northwestern Iran and following a 2012 bombing in Damascus that killed top aides of Assad. Rumours circulated in November 2015 that Soleimani was killed or seriously wounded leading forces loyal to Assad as they fought around Syria’s Aleppo.