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Iraq's sovereignty should not be disturbed: Sinha

External Affairs Minister feels that under no circumstances Iraq's sovereignty should be disturbed.

india Updated: Apr 04, 2003 14:02 IST
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India

Dismissing criticism about the "middle path" adopted on the Iraq crisis, External Affairs Minister Yashwant Sinha says India will calibrate its position as and when it becomes necessary but feels that under no circumstances Iraq's sovereignty should be disturbed.

Notwithstanding the unilateralism displayed by US-led coalition in waging the war bypassing UN, New Delhi is keen that the post-war reconstruction politically and economically should be under the UN aegis.

Maintaining that the war is "far from over", the minister said it was inappropriate to talk about economic reconstruction at this point of time.

In an hour-long interview, Sinha said "too much" has been made of the middle path adopted by the country.

"The Prime Minister had spoken of the middle path in another context before the war had actually started. Once the war started, there is no question of the middle path. We have clearly stated that this war lacked justification and was avoidable.

"We have never supported the war. We still stand by our position that unilateral action was not warranted and whatever has to be done should be through the UN and that war is not a preferred solution".

India was in touch with other countries at the UN as also in various capitals on the Iraq developments in the wake of the military action.

Asked about US Secretary of State Colin Powell's statement that the interim authority in Iraq after the war would be initially headed by Tommy Franks, Commander of the Coalition forces, he said, "We have seen some such statement. Our preference will continue to be for an arrangement under the UN and sovereignty of Iraq to remain with the people of Iraq".

"Sovereignty covers everything," he said in reply to a question whether the same principle applied to both political and economic issues that would crop up at the end of the war.

To a question on how India sees the talk of reconstruction of Iraq in certain capitals, he said "some people talked of reconstruction even before the war began. Post-war reconstruction will be clearly a major issue. But there will be many other issues that will have to be tackled like humanitarian assistance to the suffering people of Iraq".

First Published: Apr 04, 2003 12:25 IST