India voices concern over Riyadh airport ‘missile attack’

saudi-missileThe missile strike on King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh by Yemeni rebels last week has elicited strong condemnation from New Delhi. In a statement that underlined India’s expanding security partnership with Saudi Arabia, New Delhi reiterated its commitment to defeat terrorism and violence.

The Yemen Civil War that started in 2015 has resulted in a severe humanitarian crisis with bombings claiming numerous civilian lives.

“We strongly condemn the missile attack reportedly targeting the Riyadh airport. We are deeply concerned at any escalation of violence that threatens the safety and security of innocent people,” India’s external affairs ministry said in a statement in New Delhi on November 8. “We also reiterate our commitment to fight against all forms of terrorism and violence,” said the ministry.

Enhancing counter-terror cooperation has acquired an added focus in Delhi-Riyadh partnership since Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Saudi Arabia in April 2016, and will figure prominently in the likely visit of the Saudi monarch to India next month.

The domestically built Burkan II ballistic missile was fired by an American-made anti-missile defense system, as the investigations have pointed out. No injuries were reported since Saudi Arabia was able to intercept and destroy the missile. With this being the 77th missile fired by the Houthis (the rebel group resisting Saudi-led military intervention in Yemen), the Yemeni conflict has taken an ugly turn as it is the first time that a missile has been able to reach the airspace over Riyadh. The humanitarian crisis is deepening with seventeen million Yemenis reported to be facing a severe food shortage. Saudi retaliatory strikes, along with the move to cut off humanitarian aid by closing off all entry points to Yemen, is only going to exacerbate the crisis.

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