India joined the leaders of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in strongly opposing foreign military intervention in Syria and welcoming the Russian proposal for putting the chemical arsenals under international control.

“Any external military intervention in Syria’s affairs should be excluded,” External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid told a SCO summit in Bishkek on Friday. “We are encouraged by the current proposal, steered by Russia that is aimed at bringing the Syrian chemical stockpile under international control,” Mr Khurshid said. “This proposal is in alignment with India’s own consistent stance of supporting the complete destruction and elimination of chemical weapons worldwide. India sees any move in this direction, within the framework of the UN, as a positive development.”

He hoped that securing the weapons would facilitate “the early holding” of Geneva-2 and the start of peace talks. Russia’s President Putin called “impermissible” military intervention without Security Council sanction and hailed Syria’s accession to the Chemical Weapons Convention as “a very serious step towards the resolution of the Syrian crisis.” He said the move showed the “serious intention” of President Bashar al-Assad “to follow this path.”

In a declaration, the SCO leaders supported the plan to bring the chemical weapons under international control and eventually destroy them and came out against outside intervention in Syria “without U.N. Security Council sanction” .