India on Saturday asked all parties to avoid further escalating the tension around the Syrian crisis. This comes a day after the United States, United Kingdom and France ordered missile strikes against the country in retaliation to a suspected chemical attack by the Bashar al-Assad regime.
The Ministry of External Affairs said it has taken note of the airstrikes in Syria. “We urge all parties to show restraint and to avoid any further escalation in the situation,” said Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar. “The matter should be resolved through dialogue and negotiations and on the basis of the principles of the UN Charter and in accordance with international law.”
Kumar said India was closely monitoring the situation. “The alleged use of chemical weapons, if true, is deplorable,” he added. “We call for an impartial and objective investigation by the OPCW [Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons] to establish the facts.”
India is the latest country to denounce the airstrikes. Earlier, China said it was “opposed to the use of force” and called for a dialogue to resolve the crisis. It added that unilateral military action bypassing the United Nations Security Council will complicate the Syrian conflict. Iraq and Iran, too, said the US-led strikes were a dangerous development. Russian President Vladimir Putin called it an “act of aggression” that will only worsen the humanitarian catastrophe in Syria.
On Saturday, the UN Security Council overwhelmingly rejected Russia’s resolution calling to have the airstrikes, which it called “aggression” by the US, UK and France, condemned. Only two other countries on the 15-member Security Council – China and Bolivia – supported the resolution, and four abstained from the vote.
The airstrikes, which targeted a scientific research centre in Barzah near Damascus and an Army depot near Homs, were in retaliation for a suspected chemical attack in the rebel-held Douma town. Rescue workers pegged the initial toll at 70 but expected the figure to rise as they get access to the basements where civilians had sought refuge. Both Syria and Russia, its biggest supporter, have denied involvement in the attack.