India has opposed any unilateral military action against Syria without UN authorisation,amid growing pressure on US President Barack Obama not to attack the country.
The Syrian issue dominated a long dinner meeting of G20 leaders including Obama on Thursday night hosted by Russian President Vladimir Putin at the end of the first day’s deliberations during which Prime Minister Manmohan Singh made an intervention.
Planning Commission Deputy Chairperson Montek Singh Ahluwalia said that it was also the prime minister’s view that the world community should wait for the report of the UN inspectors on the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria.
The prime minister also told his fellow G20 leaders that India condemns the use of chemical weapons whether in Syria or anywhere in the world,Ahluwalia,who was present at the dinner meeting,told reporters here.
Singh also told the leaders that one needs to be certain what has happened in Syria even if there is some probability of use of chemical weapons.
Syrian opposition and the West have accused President Bashar Al-Assad’s forces of using chemical weapons on August 21 in a Damascus suburb,a charge denied by the government.
Ahluwalia said the indication given by the prime minister was that one should wait for the report of the UN team of inspectors.
The prime minister made it clear that whatever action is required in Syria should be under the auspices of the UN and not outside its framework.
According to Ahluwalia,who is the ‘Sherpa’ for India at the summit,the prime minister also said that India was not in favour of armed action aimed at any regime change as this would be violation of international law.
The meeting was also told that the UN Security Council should authorise the action if it is necessary. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon briefed the G20 leaders on the current efforts by the UN inspectors who are operating in “difficult circumstances.”
Ahluwalia said the indications given by Ban was that the report by the UN team is expected to come out sooner or later.
The US President is under pressure to decide against launching military strikes in Syria,which many G20 leaders\ fear would hurt the global economy and push up oil prices.
Obama has accused President Assad’s forces of killing 1,429 people in a poison-gas attack in the Damascus suburbs. But Assad has blamed rebels for the attack.
G20 leaders remain divided over the Syrian conflict as they entered the second and final day of the summit.
According to Italian Premier Enrico Letta,the splits were confirmed during the working dinner. In a tweet,he said that “the G20 has just now finished the dinner session,at which the divisions about Syria were confirmed”.
A spokesman for the Russian presidency said a US strike on Syria would “drive another nail into the coffin of international law”.
With the US looking increasingly isolated over Syria,Putin has made no secret of his opposition to US military intervention. Putin this week said any military strikes without UN approval would be “an aggression”.
From what world leaders have said over the last 24 hours,he will assume Moscow’s message has been continued…