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India opposed to ‘no-fly zone,' use of force against Libya

Sandeep Dikshit

NEW DELHI: In the first articulation of official thinking on Western plans to deal with the emerging situation in Libya, India has said it will oppose any move to enforce a no-fly-zone or use force to end the civil war in the North African nation.

Making this clear in an interview to The Hindu on Thursday, Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao said India's stand was echoed by many developing countries as well as the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) nations. However, India had not decided whether to abstain or vote against such a resolution in case the issue came up before the United Nations Security Council. New Delhi would prefer to consult with its friends and then take a stand, Ms. Rao indicated.

The Foreign Secretary said India as well as its like-minded friends on the UNSC was opposed to referring Libya to the International Criminal Court, a key aspect of the resolution passed unanimously last week. But an impassioned plea by the Libyan Permanent Representative helped tilt the scales and India went along with the consensus but after expressing its reservations.

Ms. Rao also revealed that the imposition of sanctions would have been accompanied by use of force as per the original draft moved by the Western countries. But India, along with Russia, China and others, opposed the move and this resulted in a consensus forming around Article 41, which authorises partial sanctions but not use of force.

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