Wednesday, Apr 09, 2003
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By Our New Delhi Bureau
A compromise was facilitated with the Hindi resolution using the word `ninda' to describe the military action against Iraq by the American-led coalition forces. While some pundits said `ninda' translated into ``deplore'', others felt it meant ``condemn''.
Expressing ``national sentiments'', the resolution said military action with a view to changing the regime in Iraq was ``not acceptable''. The war was launched without the permission of the U.N.The Lok Sabha also demanded that the reconstruction of Iraq take place under U.N. supervision and that it ensured the sovereignty of Iraq. The House expressed deep sympathy for the Iraqi people.
Given the fact that earlier official statements spoke of disarmament tasks for Iraq as well, the resolution reflects a certain hardening of attitude on the part of the Government and an obvious effort to deflect Opposition criticism.
Responding to the fears expressed by members on India being a possible U.S. target, the External Affairs Minister, Yashwant Sinha, said that ``anybody seeking to subdue the country was living in a dream land''. The country's foreign policy, Mr. Sinha said, would continue to be guided by pragmatism and the national interest.
Earlier, the Lok Sabha was adjourned twice to enable the floor leaders from both sides to agree on the wording of the resolution. The Lok Sabha Speaker, Manohar Joshi, played a significant role in facilitating the unanimous resolution. Behind closed doors in his chamber, Mr. Joshi nudged the two sides till they finally agreed to the resolution.
When the House met this morning, the Opposition appeared to have hardened its position by insisting on using the word ``ghor ninda'' (strongly deplore/condemn) a proposition which the Government found unacceptable.
The House was adjourned twice as the Speaker sought to get the two sides to agree to a final version. The breakthrough came during the second round of negotiations in the Speaker's chamber around lunch time.
The Opposition indicated its willingness to drop the word ``ghor ninda'' provided the Government accepted its formulation on the withdrawal of troops and an immediate end to the war. The agreement, however, was held up because it had to be carried to the Prime Minister for approval. Mr. Vajpayee gave his nod around 2 p.m., just as the House was to meet after the second adjournment.
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