New Delhi, April 8: Ending two days of wrangling and intense closed-door negotiations over whether to “condemn” or “deplore” the war in Iraq, all parties today came together in the Lok Sabha to voice their “ninda” in a unanimous resolution adopted only in Hindi.
The resolution called for an immediate halt to the military action and withdrawal of coalition forces at the earliest.
Moved by Speaker Manohar Joshi, the resolution demanded that the United Nations ensure the sovereignty of Iraq and also supervise reconstruction in the war-ravaged country.
“The military action being undertaken with the stated objective of bringing about a regime change in Iraq is not acceptable.... The action has no special mandate of the United Nations Security Council and it is against the UN Charter,” the resolution said.
The war has inflicted untold miseries on the innocent people of Iraq, especially women and children, it added, expressing sympathies with them.
The resolution welcomed the government’s decision to respond to the UN call for humanitarian assistance with a Rs 100-crore aid in cash and kind, including 50,000 metric tonnes of wheat. If needed, more aid should be provided, the resolution stated.
It took two meetings in the Speaker’s chamber for the government and the Opposition to arrive at a consensus. Joshi moved the resolution when the House reassembled in the afternoon after two brief adjournments.
The point of contention was not just the use of “kadi” (strongly) before “ninda” (condemnation). Non-Congress Opposition leaders insisted that two paragraphs be included in the draft resolution, calling for an immediate end to the military action, troop withdrawal, UN guarantee for Iraqi sovereignty and UN-supervised reconstruction of the country.
When the government agreed to include the paragraphs, the non-Congress Opposition gave up its demand to place “kadi” before “ninda”. They also agreed to have the resolution only in Hindi, though there was an understanding that MPs could mention the English equivalent of “ninda” when they spoke in the House.
Rounding off the brief discussion, foreign minister Yashwant Sinha allayed the fears of some members that India could be the target of Iraq-like unilateral military action in the future.
“A country of a billion people cannot be subjected to such treatment. We cannot be subdued by any power. There should be no doubt about our capacity to rise to the occasion. Any country which thinks on these lines is living in a dream world,” Sinha said.
But he added that India’s ties with the US would continue to grow despite the differences over Iraq. Delhi would also continue to pursue its “friendliest ties” with Baghdad, he said.
Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee was not present in the House either yesterday or today.