India asks for end to Libya air strikes | delhi | Hindustan Times
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India asks for end to Libya air strikes

delhi Updated: Mar 21, 2011 17:48 IST

External affairs minister S M Krishna called for an end to air strikes in Libya, saying they would lead to more harm to "innocent civilians, foreign nationals and diplomatic missions."

"We regret the air strikes that are taking place," Krishna told reporters.

"India calls upon all parties to abjure violence and the use of threat and force to resolve the differences. I think the need of the hour is cessation of armed conflict," he added.

He added that "air strikes will lead to harm to innocent civilians, foreign nationals and diplomatic missions and their personnel who are still in Libya".

The comments were firmer that a statement issued by the foreign ministry on Sunday which said that India "views with grave concern" the violence in Libya and "regrets the air strikes."

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has said he wants the people of North Africa and the Middle East to take their own decisions "free of outside interference."

India has traditionally pursued a non-aligned foreign policy, although it has tilted towards the United States since the end of the Cold War.

It has also been drilling oil blocks in Libya as part of its bid to secure desperately needed energy assets to fuel its fast-expanding economy.

The South Asian giant followed Brazil, China, Russia and Germany in abstaining during a vote in the UN Security council that passed resolution 1973 last week which approved military action against Muammer Gaddafi's regime.

Russia has called for an end to "indiscriminate use of force" in Libya, while China has expressed regret over the military attacks, which began on Saturday when French aircraft bombed pro-Gaddafi forces.

Arab League secretary general Amr Mussa, who had previously backed the air strikes, courted controversy on Sunday by saying the air and missile strikes exceeded the bounds set by Resolution 1973.

Missile and aircraft strikes by a coalition of nations led by Britain, France, Italy and the United States have hit a range of targets in Libya.

Qatar and the United Arab Emirates are also taking part.

UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon said on Monday that it was vital the world speak as one on Libya.