India cautions against military intervention in Syria

It will wait for U.N. inspectors to fix responsibility for use of chemical weapons

September 04, 2013 03:34 am | Updated December 04, 2021 11:22 pm IST - NEW DELHI

India on Tuesday cast its lot with countries counselling against military intervention in Syria, saying it would wait for the report from United Nations inspectors to fix culpability.

“India has consistently called upon all sides to abjure violence, so that conditions can be created for an inclusive political dialogue leading to a comprehensive political solution, taking into account the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people. There can be no military solution to this conflict. We continue to support the proposed ‘International Conference on Syria’ [Geneva-II]… for bringing the Syrian government and the opposition to the negotiating table,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said.

On the reported use of chemical weapons in Syria, he said India consistently supported elimination of such weapons worldwide. The international legal norm against their use anywhere and by anyone should not be breached. “However, we will prefer to await the full results of the U.N. inspection.”

India’s position was spelt out a few hours after External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid gave no indication, at an interaction with the media, of the country’s position on the U.S. plans for military strikes and the reported use of chemical weapons in the Syrian civil war.

Mr. Khurshid termed the situation in Syria critical and expressed concern at the fate of India’s lines of credit and other investments if the U.S. went in for military strikes.

Syrian Ambassador Raid Kamel Abbas praised India’s stand and warned of an adverse effect on oil prices if the situation further worsened. He also called on New Delhi to step up efforts to convince international organisations like the U.N. of the need to bring both sides for talks.

Mr. Akbaruddin refuted British Prime Minister David Cameron’s claim that India was among the countries favouring military action.

India’s former Permanent Representative to the U.N. Hardeep Puri pointed to the dangers involved in precipitous military action. Evidence of chemical weapons lasted long, but it had to be determined with some degree of certainty that they were actually used by forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

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