Military strike on Iran will be disaster, warns India

July 14th, 2008 - 9:01 pm ICT by IANS  


New Delhi, July 14 (IANS) Amid reports about the US giving a go-ahead to an alleged Israeli plan to attack Iran, India Monday asked all “concerned governments” to “exercise restraint” and warned that a military strike against Tehran will have “disastrous consequences for the entire region.” “India is gravely concerned at these statements threatening the use of military force against Iran,” external affairs ministry spokesperson Navtej Sarna said while alluding to reports in the media quoting a top Pentagon official indicating an imminent use of military force against Iran.

“There is no military solution to the issues that are being discussed between Iran and the international community,” he said.

“India continues to support negotiations and diplomacy, rather than the threat or use of force,” he stressed while reiterating India’s considered position on the Iranian nuclear programme, suspected by the West of developing nuclear weapons.

“A military strike on Iran would have disastrous consequences for the entire region, affecting the lives and livelihood of five million Indians resident in the Gulf, and the world economy,” the spokesperson said in a strongly-worded statement.

“India calls upon all concerned governments to exercise restraint and choose the peaceful path of persuasion and negotiations,” he said.

India’s strong reaction to a feared military strike against Iran is underscored its independent foreign policy and its vital strategic and economic stakes in the region that is home to over 5-million strong Indian diaspora. New Delhi’s position on the Iranian nuclear imbroglio is also aimed at emphasizing its fundamental differences in approach with Washington with whom it has struck a civil nuclear deal.

India is negotiating a $7.5 billion tri-nation gas pipeline that will bring Iranian gas to the Indian territory through Pakistan. During Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s visit to Delhi in April, India told off the US that it does not need guidance form the US in conducting its relations with Iran with whom it shares its age-cold civilizational ties.

US President George Bush has given Israel an “amber light” to start preparing for a military attack in case talks over the country’s controversial nuclear programme fail to yield results, a report in Sunday Times said.

“Amber means get on with your preparations, stand by for immediate attack and tell us when you’re ready,” an unnamed Pentagon official as quoted as telling Sunday Times.

The report goes on to say that Washington would not give a “green light” to the attack without unquestionable proof that the Islamic Republic is involved in military preparations of its own.

The US official’s response came after a renewed bout of sabre-rattling between Tehran and Tel Aviv as the latter threatened military attack after Iran last week launched a series of medium-range ballistic missiles.

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