India may make fresh efforts to end Syrian crisis

It will join international effort to destroy chemical weapons

December 25, 2013 07:10 pm | Updated November 16, 2021 11:05 pm IST - NEW DELHI

India is poised again for a more active role in Syria, after having been involved in unsuccessful attempts to resolve the conflict when it was a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council for two years.

India has been informed about its invitation to Geneva II, the U.N.-sponsored international conference on Syria, scheduled for next month. The first meeting resulted in the Geneva communiqué that supported a political transition without insisting on President Bashar-al Assad’s exit and a transition plan. India was also an Observer in Friends of Syria, a grouping that tried to push through regime change.

Simultaneously, India is likely to join international efforts to destroy Syria’s stockpile of chemical weapons. New Delhi is exchanging documents with the Organisation for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) for finalising the details. India was an early supporter of Russia’s proposal for keeping Syria’s stockpile of chemical weapons in safe custody, even while opposing military intervention and moving toward a political settlement, possibly with Geneva-II.

The percentage of Indians in OPCW inspections worldwide has always been high, and Indian facilities, such as the one in Gwalior, are highly respected, says Bhaswati Mukherjee, India’s former Permanent Representative to the OPCW.

Indian experts will help to destroy the stockpile and train other personnel. India is one of the founder signatories to the Chemical Weapons Convention and has destroyed its weapons in accordance with the Convention.

The destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons involves multi-state participation. According to reports, U.S. satellites and Chinese surveillance cameras will track Russian lorries heading from Syrian storage sites to its Mediterranean port of Latakia. From there, Danish and Norwegian vessels will take the chemicals to a port in Italy where they will be loaded on a U.S. Navy vessel.

This article has been corrected for a factual error

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