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In PIX: When Gaddafi embarrassed India

Last updated on: October 21, 2011 08:50 IST

In PIX: When Gaddafi embarrassed India

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Libyan strongman Muammar Gaddafi, who was killed on Thursday, once caused a major diplomatic embarrassment to India when he supported the idea of an "independent state" for Kashmir and said that it should be a 'Baathist state' between India and Pakistan.

In his maiden address to the United Nations General Assembly in 2009, the maverick leader also mentioned India as among the countries that will be competing for a permanent seat in the Security Council, while opposing the induction of big powers into the powerful body. Gaddafi, who has rarely been a person India has been comfortable with, in his speech railed against India and Kashmir as well.

"Kashmir should be an independent state, not Indian, not Pakistani. We should end this conflict. It should be a Ba'athist state between India and Pakistan," said Gaddafi, shunned internationally for much of his rule because the West accused him of terrorism.

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Image: Libya's Colonel Muammar Gaddafi
Photographs: Reuters
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'Big powers in UNSC would add to poverty, injustice, tension'

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It was for the first time in recent times that a Muslim leader outside the Indian sub-continent had advocated Kashmirs complete independence both from India and Pakistan. Speaking with contempt on a range of issues, the Arab world's longest serving leader said opening the doors of the UNSC for big powers would "add more poverty, more injustice, and more tension at the world level".

He came to power in 1969 and his years of quixotic and often brutal rule came to an end early this year. "There would be high competition between Italy, Germany Indonesia, India, Pakistan, Philippines, Japan, Argentina, Brazil ...," Gaddafi said during his more than one-and-a-half-hour long address.

Stressing that there must be equality among member states, Gaddafi had noted that since India and Pakistan were both nuclear powers, if India had a seat then Pakistan would want one as well. He also struck a raw nerve in Indian foreign policy circles by likening his crackdown against the Libyan Opposition to India's actions in Kashmir on the eve of the UN Security Council debate and vote against Libya in February this year.

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Image: Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi listens during the opening session of the 12th African Union Summit in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa
Photographs: Reuters
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'UN General Assembly ineffectual'

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Gaddafi, in a missive to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, sought India's support for his actions, as civil war broke out in Libya. India voted for the UNSC resolution, which was passed unanimously. Gaddafi's mercurial character, though, was on full display on Libya's national day in March this year, which he celebrated.

In a five-hour address in Tripoli, he mentioned India at least five times, saying that he would give future commercial contracts to Indian and Chinese companies and that he was very pleased with India's vote in the UN Security Council.

Noting that Security Council reform does not mean increasing the member states, he said in his UNGA address, "It will just make things worse...Many big countries will be added further to the former big countries that we already have and like this it will be outweighed." "We reject having more seats," said the Libyan leader since it would give "rise to more superpowers, crush the small people.

After being introduced in the General Assembly hall as the "leader of the revolution, the President of the African Union and the king of kings of Africa, Gaddafi shattered protocol by giving a rambling speech that stretched for 90 minutes instead of the allotted 15. Donned in long brown robes and a black hat, he read from hand-written notes and regularly referred to an assortment of papers.

Calling the UN General Assembly ineffectual, Gadaffi likened the world body to the Speakers' Corner in London's Hyde Park where all people can come to speak their mind.

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Image: Muammar Gaddafi holds a Charter of the United Nations and Statute of the International Court of Justice as he addresses the 64th United Nations General Assembly at the U.N
Photographs: Ray Stubblebine/Reuters
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'Security Council should be called terror council'

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The head of the African Union also suggested that the swine flu was designed for military purposes, and defended the Somali pirates. "Somalis are not pirates, we are pirates," he said. "We went there, we took their economic zones, we took their fish," he said. "Libya, India, Japan, America, any country in the world you just name it, all of us, we're all pirates," he added.

He had slammed both the United States and the United Nations, and termed the Security Council as the terrorist council. The Security Council "is political feudalism for those who have a permanent seat .It should not be called the Security Council, it should be called the terror council."

Resorting to theatrics, Gaddafi also waved aloft a copy of the UN charter and seemed to tear it up, saying he did not recognise the authority of the document. He suggested those who caused "mass murder" in Iraq must be tried, defended the right of the Taliban to establish an Islamic emirate, and wondered whether swine flu was cooked up in a laboratory as a weapon.

Gaddafi asked that compensation of 7.77 trillion dollars should be given to African nations for centuries of colonisation. He had also demanded a probe into the assassinations of John F Kennedy and Martin Luther King.


Image: Anti-Gaddafi graffiti is seen on a wall near Yafran in eastern Libya
Photographs: Reuters
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