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Tuesday, 19 November, 2002, 11:15 GMT
Indian PM issues Iraq warning
US Air Force fighter plane takes off from Incirlik air base in southern Turkey
India says action on Iraq should be UN approved

India's Prime Minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee, has said no country should enforce its will on another, saying all issues relating to Iraq should be resolved by the United Nations.

Mr Vajpayee made his comments, which are clearly directed at the United States, during a speech to mark a Sikh holy day.

All issues should be sorted out through discussions under the auspices of the United Nations. No one should try to enforce its will on others

Atal Behari Vajpayee

The Indian prime minister said he hoped no more war would take place in Iraq.

Atal Behari Vajpayee did not specifically name the US, but his message was clear and said people of all nations have a right to rule themselves and choose their own leaders.

'No more war'

He was speaking to an audience of Sikhs, on the day which marks the anniversary of the birth of Guru Nanak, the founder of the Sikh religion, 533 years ago.

Mr Vajpayee said: "We hope no more war takes place in Iraq. All issues should be sorted out through discussions under the auspices of the United Nations. No one should try to enforce its will on others."

He also said that if Iraq has weapons of mass destruction it should give them up voluntarily.

But he also said: "If terrorism, of any form, any colour or any hue, wants to impose itself on anyone else, it will not be allowed to succeed."

Close relations

India is heavily dependent on imported oil and fears the effect on oil prices should conflict break out.

Portrait of Saddam Hussein in Baghdad
Delhi has had close ties with Baghdad in the past
Delhi has also enjoyed close relations with Baghdad.

Four years ago, Mr Vajpayee called for air strikes on Iraqi targets by US and British war planes to be stopped.

And when Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990, India did not at first join in the international criticism of Saddam Hussein.

But in the past decade, India's relations with the United States have improved.

And senior Indian politicians have displayed a growing reluctance to criticise American foreign policy.


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01 Oct 02 | Middle East
20 Feb 01 | Middle East
17 Oct 02 | Country profiles
24 Jul 02 | Country profiles
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