Thursday, March 13, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

PM against war without UN nod
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 12
Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee today strongly opposed any military attack against Iraq unless such an action were to have “the collective concurrence of the international community.”

Mr Vajpayee advocated for a wait and watch option to be exercised by the international community. “If permitting more time and formulation of a clearer criteria can facilitate a decision with in the UN framework, we believe this option should be given a chance.”

In an identical statement made in both the houses of Parliament on the Iraq situation, Mr Vajpayee said the work of the weapon inspectors was continuing in Iraq and “the (UN) Security Council should decide on what further action needs to be taken.”

“If unilateralism prevails, the UN would be deeply scarred with disastrous consequences for the world order. The Government of India would strongly urge that no military action be taken which does not have the collective concurrence of the international community,” Mr Vajpayee said. He felt that this could be achieved by a collective decision through the United Nations. The Prime Minister cautioned that any unilateral military action against Iraq would lead to “disastrous consequences” and strongly opposed any move to change a country’s regime by an outside force.

The Prime Minister hoped that the members of the Security Council would harmonise their positions to ensure that its final decision enhanced the legitimacy and credibility of the United Nations.

Mr Vajpayee stressed that his government had drawn up contingency plans to deal with any eventuality. The Indian nationals in Iraq numbering less than 50 had been advised to leave the country in the coming days.

Even though there was unlikely to be any large scale dislocation of the Indian communities in the neighbouring countries on a possible outbreak of hostilities, the Ministry of Civil Aviation had drawn up plans to evacuate Indians, if necessary, Mr Vajpayee said.

The Ministry of Petroleum had taken steps to shore up the inventories of crude oil. Ruling out the possibility of a major dislocation in imports of crude oil, he said India had adequate foreign exchange reserves to meet a higher crude oil import bill.

The Prime Minister pointed out that while no major dislocation in crude oil imports was envisaged, India had adequate foreign exchange reserves to meet a higher crude oil import bill if prices continue to rise in the short run.

Replying to clarifications from Opposition leaders on reports that the USA wanted to remove Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, the Prime Minister said governments should be changed by the people and established by them. “No outside force should be allowed to change a regime. Use of external force by a superpower to change a regime will be wrong and this should not be supported.” 

He said peace and prosperity of the Gulf was of vital interest to India given its long standing political, cultural and economic ties with the countries of the region. 

The Prime Minister said there were over 3.5 million Indians working in the Gulf “whose welfare is of great concern to us.” Their remittances were an important source of foreign exchange for the country and over 60 per cent of India’s crude oil imports.



PM: India can make cryogenic engine

New Delhi, March 12
Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee today announced in the Lok Sabha that India had attained the capability of making a fully indigenous cryogenic engine.

Intervening during the question hour, Mr Vajpayee said: “India has very friendly relations with Russia and we approached Russia for obtaining the cryogenic engine technology and they readily agreed to provide us the technology.”

Earlier, the Minister of State for Space Satya Brata Mookerjee said India had the ability to launch satellites up to two tonnes of payload capacity. In the next three years, this capacity would be increased to three tonnes.

He said the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) had already helped a number of countries to launch their satellites into the space. These includes countries like Korea, Belgium and others. Apart from this, ISRO has received an order for the launching of a satellite from Singapore. Currently, ISRO is engaged in the launching of a satellite for Thailand. UNI

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