India decries US-led air strikes in Libya

Biggest military intervention since the 2003 invasion of Iraq

Expressing concerns over continuing violence in the North African country, it called upon “all parties” to abjure the use of force and resolve their differences through peaceful means and dialogue in which the United Nations and regional organisations should play their roles.

“India views with grave concern the continuing violence, strife and deteriorating humanitarian situation in Libya. It regrets the air strikes that are taking place,” the Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement here.

The United States-led military coalition on Sunday hit Libyan defence targets with cruise missiles and launched air attacks as Libyan leader Muammar Gadhafi vowed to open his arms depots to the people to retaliate against the Western “aggression”.

According to Al-Jazeera report, French jets fired the first shots in ‘Operation Odyssey Dawn’, the biggest international military intervention in the Arab world since the 2003 invasion of Iraq, destroying tanks and armoured vehicles in eastern Libya.

They were joined by the United States and the United Kingdom who fired over 110 Tomahawk missiles from American and British ships and submarines, hitting about 20 Libyan air and missile defence targets in the capital Tripoli and along the Mediterranean coast, United States Navy Vice Adm William Gortney was reported to have said at a Pentagon briefing.

“Spoke to Ambassador (M) Manimekalai in Tripoli a short while ago. She is cool and calm. Harrowing Saturday night tho' with jets screaming above, she says ,” foreign secretary Nirupama Rao tweeted.

The United Nations Security Council had on Thursday adopted a resolution, calling for an immediate ceasefire and authorised “all necessary measures” for protecting civilians in Libya from Gadhafi's forces.

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