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Benghazi or bust

New Delhi has spoken. Let the world know where a global player like India stands on Libya.

india Updated: Mar 22, 2011 22:54 IST

When the Indian government speaks, the world listens. New Delhi's position on the decision of France, Britain and the United States to impose a ‘no fly zone’ over Gaddafinagar was made crystal clear by none other than India’s external affairs minister SM Krishna. Armed with the gift of the diplo-gab, Mr Krishna stated that the Indian government views “with grave concern the ongoing violence, strikes and deteriorating humanitarian situation in Libya”. ‘Concern’ is a good emotion; ‘concern’ is a strong emotion. He then added that “we regret the air strikes that are taking place” — an emotion that, we believe, even those conducting the air strikes share for various reasons.

But the true bugle blast that should make both the countries conducting airstrikes in Libya as well as the whole Qadd-adfa tribe shake in their boots is Mr Krishna’s finger wag: “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.” The beauty of those rousing lines is that they could have been apt even at a Miss World contest or, with Mr Krishna's record, at a gathering for peace among the world's Portuguese-speaking people.

India, with its growing power on the world stage, practically read out the riot act (to whom is so obvious that it bears no reiteration) when Mr Krishna said that New Delhi would take up the issue of the airstrikes at various levels and would “continue to exert whatever influence we have on international fora to prevent further escalation of violence and conflict in Libya”. So be sure to find the next South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc), Non-Aligned Movement (Nam) and Rotary Club summits to be abuzz with India’s bovine faeces-free line on Libya. And allowing no waffling-room whatsoever, Mr Krishna has stated that India will respect “the aspirations of the people of Libya”. So there. Let there be no doubt now about where India, so deserving of becoming a permanent member of the UN Security Council, stands when it comes to Libya.