Further escalation of tension between Iran and Israel may push up oil prices, says External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar

External Affairs Minister cites increase in import costs, shipping costs, insurance costs and energy costs

Updated - April 17, 2024 11:48 am IST

Published - April 16, 2024 03:52 pm IST

Union External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar addressing mediapersons in Bengaluru on April 15, 2024.

Union External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar addressing mediapersons in Bengaluru on April 15, 2024. | Photo Credit: Murali Kumar K

External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar has expressed fear that any further escalation in the tension between Iran and Israel may have big consequences for India as it may push up oil prices.

In an informal interaction with mediapersons in Bengaluru on April 16, Mr. Jaishankar observed that any escalation of the Middle East tension would translate to an increase in import costs, shipping costs, insurance costs and energy costs besides pushing up oil prices

There is pressure from the rest of the world, including the US, on Israel to desist from escalating matters with Iran. At the same time, there was pressure from within Israel to respond to the attack by Iran, he pointed out, while referring to reports in Israeli media.

“My sense is that in the next few days we see how the pressure from rest of the world and pressure from within Israel will play out,” he said.

At the same time, he ruled out the possibility of any increase in oil prices impacting the ongoing Lok Sabha elections, by indicating that it may take some time for any such escalation in tension to trigger an increase in oil prices. “We are looking at months and not weeks (for any impact). I don’t think it will have any impact on polls,” he said.

He also made it clear that for the present, the main concern as well as focus for India was to ensure the early return of 17 Indians on board the Israel-affiliated container vessel MSC Aries that was seized by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard in the Strait of Hormuz.

No dual citizenship for now

Replying to a query, Mr. Jaishankar made it clear that India is not considering offering dual citizenship. But, he did not rule out the possibility in future.

He explained that dual citizenship would come with several implications, including the security associated with the citizenship of people and logistics related to movement of people for voting as no other country had such a huge population living away from the country, like India. “The general sense right now is that the problems of dual citizenship outweigh the benefits. We look at it as a national security and logistics exercise,” he said.

“By the way, we know that majority of people who get dual citizenship probably vote for BJP. But it is a testimony to BJP’s maturity and objectivity that at the moment we are not considering dual citizenship,” he said.

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