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Chemical attack in Syria: India breaks silence, gives cautious reaction

New Delhi, however, stops short of openly condemning the tragedy that killed 87 people.

india Updated: Apr 17, 2017 08:58 IST
Jayanth Jacob
Jayanth Jacob
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Chemical attack,Syria,Khan Sheikhoun
Victims of the suspected chemical weapons attack lie on the ground in Khan Sheikhoun, in the northern province of Idlib, Syria. (AP Photo )

India on Thursday reacted cautiously to the recent chemical attack in Syria breaking its silence over the tragedy that killed 87 people, including many children, but stopped short of openly condemning it.

New Delhi said its consistent position is that the use of chemical weapons by anyone anywhere under any circumstances should not happen and perpetrators of such an act should be held accountable.

The chemical attack was carried out on the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhoun in Syria on April 4.

However, external affairs ministry spokesperson Gopal Baglay did not explicitly condemned the attack, for which Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government is being held responsible by the US and its allies.

“India is a signatory to the chemical weapons convention. It has been our consistent position that the use of chemical weapons by anyone anywhere under any circumstances should not happen”, he said.

“Any perpetrator of such an act should be held accountable. That is our position on the use of chemical weapons,” he said.

He also referred to the statements made by the foreign minister of Russia and the US secretary of state after their meeting in Moscow on Wednesday.

Baglay quoted the statement as saying that “we both Russia and the US believe in a unified and stable Syria. We agree to deny a safe haven to terrorists. We think that it is important to defeat terrorists, which in that particular theatre is represented by among others by the ISIS.”

The cooperation of all countries is vital to achieve this objective, Baglay said.

When specifically asked about the air strikes by the US, he said “I have referred to the meeting of the US and Russian foreign ministers. What they said was about the desirability, stability and unity of Syria and defeating terrorism.”

First Published: Apr 13, 2017 21:43 IST