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"We are at a critical juncture in world history," he said in the Rajya Sabha. "This calls for the combined wisdom of the international community," he said intervening in the debate on a private member's resolution, moved by the CPI(M)'s Jibon Roy, on the impending war against Iraq, urging the Government to take the lead in uniting the non-aligned countries to take a unified stand on the issue.
He said the situation was fast developing, with the U.S. President, George Bush, stating that Washington was in the final stages of diplomacy. But no power super or otherwise should go on changing regimes in other countries, Mr. Sinha said.
India had said from all platforms that a military strike against Iraq should be averted because Baghdad was complying with United Nations resolutions, the Minister said. The U.N. Security Council Resolution 1441 calls upon Iraq to destroy weapons of mass destruction.
Mr. Sinha said the U.N. would decide on further action if there was any further material breach by Iraq. Economic sanctions against Iraq should be lifted if there was no breach of the U.N. resolutions.
In case war breaks out, Mr. Sinha said, there should be no panic among the 3.5 million Indians living in the region. The Government would take adequate precautions and there may be small dislocation of people. But there would be no need for any massive airlift.
In the Lok Sabha, the Opposition had demanded that it be taken into confidence on India's stance on the Iraq crisis before Parliament went into recess from March 13.
The Congress expressed apprehension that the U.S. would try to intervene in India's internal affairs if Washington was allowed to impose its will on Iraq.
Members cutting across party lines decried the U.S. "hegemonistic" attitude towards Iraq and called for strengthening the Non-Aligned Movement to resist such moves and protect the interests of developing countries.
The members, including those from the BJP, the Congress, the Left and the DMK, expressed solidarity with Iraq and opposed unilateral action without U.N. sanction against the Saddam regime.
Congress member, Natwar Singh, said the idea of "regime change" in Iraq by the U.S. was fraught with serious consequences, as it would start a precedence of such changes in other countries through outside force. It would bypass the U.N.
``Regime change in a particular country should be brought about by the people of that country. If this precedence is allowed, India must think what next and who next...Suppose after Iraq, the U.S. asks India and Pakistan to sit down and talk Jammu and Kashmir. What would you do if the regime change formula is extended," he asked Mr. Sinha.
Observing that the world was faced with a "horrendous situation" to which the U.N. Security Council and the NAM had no answer, he asked if the Government had any plans for the 4 million Indians who would have to be brought to India in the event of a war. "What will happen to their livelihood. Kerala's economy will go down.'' He wanted to know the Government's approach to such a situation.
Another Congress leader, Eduardo Faleiro, while describing the U.S. stance as a "grand strategy of rich countries to control the resources of developing nations," said it was based on the urge to have control over Iraqi oil. UNI
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