India reassures Israel after explosion outside Embassy in New Delhi

Jaishankar speaks to his Israeli counterpart.

January 29, 2021 06:50 pm | Updated January 30, 2021 12:36 am IST - New Delhi

Police personnel at the APJ Abdul Kalam Road after the explosion.

Police personnel at the APJ Abdul Kalam Road after the explosion.

India on Friday assured Israel of safety of its missions and diplomats after a low intensity device exploded near the country's Embassy on the high-security APJ Abdul Kalam Road. 

A police officer on the spot said the explosive was planted in a used soft drink can and wrapped in polythene and ruled out any terror angle as of now. 

“Spoke just now to Israeli FM Gabi Ashkenazi about the explosion outside the Israeli Embassy. We take this very seriously. Assured him of the fullest protection for the Embassy and Israeli diplomats. Matter is under investigation and no effort will be spared to find the culprits,” External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar said in a message. 

An informed source said Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla spoke to his Israeli counterpart, Alon Ushpitz, and Secretary in charge of Consular Affairs Sanjay Bhattacharyya spoke to Israeli Ambassador in India Ron Malka. Late in the evening, the police recovered a letter from the spot addressed to the Israeli Embassy. The contents of the letter were not disclosed to the media. Investigating teams have also recovered ball bearings from the spot.

Later in the evening, a statement from the Israeli Embassy said “relevant Israeli authorities” were in contact with officials in India regarding the incident.

‘Bid to create sensation’

A team of Forensic Science Laboratory has collected evidence and an officer claimed that they had got some leads in the incident. 

Delhi police Additional PRO Anil Mittal said initial impressions suggested that it could be a mischievous attempt to create a sensation. “A very low-intensity improvised device went off at 5.05 p.m. No injury to any person was reported, nor was there any damage to property except the glass panes of three vehicles parked nearby,” Mr. Mittal said. 

Officials said they were scanning footage of CCTV cameras installed nearby to ascertain the sequence of events. 

Senior officers of the Delhi Police are on the spot.

Israeli Embassy's response

A statement from the Israeli Embassy informed that the "relevant Israeli authorities" are in contact with the officials in India regarding the incident.

The loud blast took place as the Beating Retreat ceremony was taking place at Rajpath. Friday also marked the 29th anniversary of the establishment of India-Israel formal diplomatic relationship. Both sides had established full and formal diplomatic ties on January 29, 1992 during the Prime Ministerial tenure of P.V. Narasimha Rao. Though the Israeli Embassy here is heavily protected, a vehicle belonging to one of the diplomats was targeted in a blast in 2012.

Friday’s incident has revived the memories of that blast which came at the height of Israel-Iran rivalries in the West Asian region.

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