India abstains on resolution authorising use of force in Libya

India abstains on resolution authorising use of force in Libya

United Nations: UN Security Council on Friday approved imposing a no-fly zone over battle-torn Libya and authorised “all necessary measures" to protect civilians, voting for a resolution in which India and four other countries abstained.

Ten of the 15-members of UN’s policy-making body voted in favour of the resolution which also calls for an immediate ceasefire in Libya where forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi inched closer to the rebel-stronghold of Benghazi amid fierce battle for the last major town of Ajdabiya.

Five nations - China, Russia (which have veto power) and non-permanent members India, Germany and Brazil - abstained from voting on the resolution which cleared the way for air strikes over the oil-rich north African country. China and Russia however did not exercise its veto power.

India’s envoy to UN Hardeep Singh Puri while abstaning from voting on the resolution said, “This resolution calls for far-reaching measures but we never got answers to very basic questions."

“This entire exercise has been based on less than complete information," he told PTI.

“We also do not have clarity about details of enforcement measures including who and with what assets participate and how these measures will be exactly carried out," Puri said during the UNSC deliberations.

Soon after the passage of resolution, US President Barack Obama called up his French counterpart Nocolas Sarkozy and British Prime Minister David Cameron to discuss on the enforcement of the UNSC resolution in Libya.

“The leaders agreed that Libya must immediately comply with all terms of the resolution and that violence against the civilian population of Libya must cease... (they) agreed to coordinate closely on next steps and to continue working with Arab and other international partners to ensure the enforcement of UNSC resolutions on Libya," the White House said in a statement.

The resolution also widens previous sanctions by imposing asset freezes for seven more of Gaddafi’s supporters and five more entities including state-owned Libyan companies.

The sanctions included an arms embargo, an asset freeze and travel ban on Gaddafi and his loyalists, and a referral to the Hague-based International Criminal Court.

After the passage of the resolution, which excludes “a foreign occupation force of any form on any part of Libyan territory," European Union asked Gaddafi to relinquish power immediately and rapidly embark on an orderly transition to democracy through broad-based dialogue.

“The European Council has called on Col Gaddafi to relinquish power immediately and urged Libya to rapidly embark on an orderly transition to democracy through broad-based dialogue," president of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy and EU High Representative Catherine Ashton said.