Syria: Delhi concerned about military strikes

New Delhi has been critical of alleged use of chemical weapons.

Written by Shubhajit Roy | New Delhi | Published: August 29, 2013 2:32 am

With major world powers preparing for military strikes against Syria for what the US and its allies say was a deadly chemical weapons attack on civilians last week,a worried New Delhi is concerned over the fallout,a combination of impact of oil prices on the current account deficit,spillover on millions of Indians living in the Gulf,and India’s dilemma over its stated position on non-intervention.

New Delhi has been critical of alleged use of chemical weapons,as reports surfaced last week calling it a matter of “grave concern” and stressing that international norms must not be breached. In a dilemma over Delhi’s non-interventionism,South Block once again sees the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) passed by the UN General Assembly in 2005,becoming a point of debate.

But the immediate concern is impact on Indian economy. Talk of military intervention by US,UK and France has led oil prices to spiral to a six-month high of over US$ 117 per barrel. This will make it more difficult to control India’s current account deficit,since the country imports 80 per cent of its oil. A weak rupee has added to the trouble. South Block is monitoring developments since it doesn’t want a spillover of strikes impacting the six million Indians estimated to be living in the Gulf.

A 2005 UN summit laid down responsibility for each state “to protect its population from genocide,war crimes,ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity.”

India has maintained that it has to be the last resort and should be in conformity with the UN Charter. Government sources say the responsibility to protect should in no way provide a pretext for intervention.

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