New Delhi, March 22 (IANS) Opposing the air strikes on Libya by Western powers, India Tuesday said external forces cannot decide on a regime change in a third country.
After opposition MPs unanimously demanded a resolution in parliament to condemn the use of force in the strife-torn north African country, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee described the local uprising against Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi as “an internal affair of that country”.
“No external powers should interfere in it,” said Mukherjee, who is also the leader of the house in the Lok Sabha.
“Nobody, no two or three countries, can take a decision to change a particular regime in a third country,” he said, referring to air strikes by the US, France and Britain.
“Whether a regime will change or not will depend on the people of that particular country, not by any external forces,” Mukherjee said.
Earlier in the impromptu discussion, MPs made a strong pitch for a resolution to condemn the airstrikes.
Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav was the first to raise the issue. He wanted the house to “pass a unanimous resolution against the airstrikes”. He was joined by MPs from the Left parties and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Mulayam Singh said India supported the fight for democracy by Libyans but “the house has to condemn the attack on Libya”.
He said “innocent civilians have been killed” in the attacks by US-led forces and the Indian parliament “cannot keep quiet about it”.
Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) MP Basudeb Acharia said the attacks on Libya were “brutal” as he reminded the house of a resolution deploring “the aggression of Iraq by the US”.
Another Left MP Gurudas Dasgupta of the CPI appreciated the stand taken by the government of India against the attacks but said the response was “not enough”.
Dasgupta said: “In the name of unseating Gaddafi, innocent Libyans are being killed in the bombings. Another Iraq and another Afghanistan is being created.
“We are against Gaddafi but do not believe in bombings. It is a war for oil,” he said.
Janata Dal-United leader Sharad Yadav, who is convener of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance, said the US attacks were a “matter of concern” and demanded that India should take a firm stand against it.
BJP’s Yashwant Sinha, a former external affairs minister, also supported the demand for the resolution to condemn “the aggression against Libya”.
“We are completely with the democratic forces struggling against an authoritarian regime (in Libya). But we are also against any military intervention to enforce regime change,” Sinha.
Some 15 MPs spoke during the discussion in one voice to condemn the attacks.