In a sharp contrast to the United States position, India on Tuesday disfavoured any "military solution" to resolve the Syrian conflict and said it will prefer to await the full results of the United Nations probe into the Syrian government's apparent use of chemical weapons that killed thousands of people.
Asking all sides to abjure violence and work for creation of conducive conditions for an inclusive political dialogue, India also supported the proposed ‘International Conference on Syria’ (Geneva-II) as being the best prospect for a political solution.
"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), being the best prospect for a political solution, for bringing the Syrian government and the opposition to the negotiating table," the spokesperson in the Ministry of External Affairs said.
He also said, "On use of chemical weapons in Syria, India has consistently supported the complete destruction and elimination of chemical weapons worldwide. The international legal norm against the use of chemical weapons anywhere and by anyone should not be breached. However, we will prefer to await the full results of the UN inspection."
India's position stands in a sharp contrast to the US, where President Barack Obama is working to persuade skeptical lawmakers to endorse a US military intervention in civil war-ravaged Syria. Obama and his aides are favouring military strikes at the Bashar al-Assad regime in response to a reported chemical attack that the Obama administration says was carried out by Assad’s military. According to the US administration, more than 1,400 people were killed, including more than 400 children.
Samples have been collected by the United Nations chemical weapons inspection team in Syria and transferred to laboratories for confirmation of use of chemical weapons.
External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said India was keeping a close watch on the situation in Syria. "We are in touch with our mission (in Syria)... We also have our line of credit and various investments (in the country).
"Obviously, they will come under question if there is a war-like situation, but all we can do today is to keep watch," Khurshid said.
Image: A boy who survived from what activists say is a gas attack cries as he takes shelter inside a mosque in the Duma neighbourhood of Damascus
Photograph: Mohamed Abdullah/Reuters