India says no place for external powers in Libya

India, which abstained from a UN security council vote to authorise military action, followed fellow BRIC countries China and Russia in condemning the air strikes led by the US, UK and France that have severely weakened Libya's air defences.
 
"What is happening in a country, within their internal affairs, no external powers should interfere in it," Pranab Mukherjee, India's finance minister and leader of the lower house of parliament, told lawmakers on Tuesday.
 
China and Russia also abstained from the resolution.
 
"Nobody, not a couple of countries, can take that decision to change a particular regime," Mukherjee said. "Whether a regime will change or not will depend on the people of that particular country, not by any external forces."

India's Foreign Minister S.M. Krishna called for the "cessation of armed conflict" on Monday, a day after his ministry issued a statement expressing "regret" over the air strikes.

Asia's third-largest economy, which has followed a foreign policy of non-alignment, took its seat as a non-permanent member of the security council in January.

Local media on Tuesday criticised New Delhi for appearing "confused" and "naive" in its condemnation of military action after abstaining from the vote.

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