Tuesday, June 21, 2011


NEW DELHI: India joined China, Russia, Brazil and Germany to abstain on a UN Security Council chapter 7 resolution against Libya which would enforce a no-fly zone over the country. Hours after the resolution was passed with 10 votes, Libyan foreign minister Moussa Koussa announced a ceasefire in operations against the rebels.
Explaining its vote in the UNSC, Manjeev Singh Puri, India's deputy permanent representative in the UN, said the resolution authorizes far-reaching measures with "relatively little credible information on the situation on the ground in Libya". "The proposed financial measures like asset freeze etc; on Libyan individuals and entities would impact trade and investment in the country and indirectly affect the Libyan people". He hoped the resolution would "not exacerbate an already difficult situation for the people of Libya. Clarity in the resolution on any spill-over effects of these measures would have been very important."

Later, Indian officials said Libya's ceasefire call vindicated their stand.
India remains deeply uncomfortable about sanctioning military action in a third country, said officials, particularly if it could lead to a disintegration of that country. In the discussions leading up to the Indian decision, senior officials said there was no evidence that a no-fly zone would take care of the problem in Libya.
The UNSC resolution was largely driven by the Arab League (although Egypt indicated it would rather stay out), particularly the Gulf Arab states, and Europe — led by UK and France that until recently were close buddies of Muammar Gaddafi. The US was reluctant, but Arab pressure, combined with domestic public opinion, swung Washington in the last moment. The US hesitation was articulated by outgoing defence secretary Bob Gates recently. "In my opinion, any future defense secretary who advises the president to again send a big American land army into Asia or into the Middle East or Africa should 'have his head examined,' as General MacArthur so delicately put it," Gates had said.
The current resolution is sweeping in its scope and advocates "all possible measures", which is an euphemism for military action.