India Backs Democratic Transition In Syria

New York: India has voted for an Arab and Western-backed UN resolution denouncing the violent crackdown in Syria and calling for a democratic transition, but Russia and China vetoed it, saying it amounted to advocating a regime change.
India and 12 other members of the Security Council, including the US, Britain and Pakistan, voted in favour of the resolution condemning Syria’s suppression of dragging protests against the Bashar Assad regime.
In a change from its earlier stand, India came out in support of the resolution which calls for a “transition to a democratic, plural political system”, withdrawal of Syrian military and armed forces from cities and towns, and release of those “detained arbitrarily”.
India explained why it was for the UN move. “Our support for the resolution is in accordance with our support for the efforts by the Arab League for a peaceful resolution of the crisis through a Syrian-led inclusive political process,” India’s Permanent Representative Hardeep Singh Puri told the Council in New York Saturday.
India, Puri added, felt that the right of the Syrian people to peacefully protest should be respected. “India has conveyed this message to the Syrian leadership, both bilaterally as well as along with its IBSA (India, Brazil, South Africa) partners. We have impressed upon the Syrian side to abjure violence and pay heed to the aspirations of the people.”
Puri asserted that “the leadership of Syria is a matter for the Syrian people to decide. “It would be necessary for all opposition forces in Syria to peacefully engage in constructive dialogue with the authorities. We hope that this will create a new environment for peace and facilitate a political process. This political dialogue should build upon the political reforms announced by the Syrian leadership with necessary changes so that they find acceptance among all sections of Syrian society.”
Puri added: “India is concerned with the present situation in Syria that has resulted in the deaths of thousands of civilians and security personnel over the last 10 months.”
The resolution said the Security Council would review the implementation of the resolution within three ways “and, in the event of non-compliance, consider further measures”.
China and Russia vetoed the resolution on grounds that it may be used to justify outside intervention in that country. Russia’s UN envoy Vitaly Churkin said the draft lacked balance. “Some influential members of the international community unfortunately … have been undermining the opportunity for political settlement, calling for a regime change, pushing the opposition to power,” he said.
Beijing’s UN ambassador Li Baodong said putting pressure on the Syrian government or “imposing a solution” would not help to resolve the issue of anti-Assad protests that have left thousands dead.
American ambassador Susan Rice said the US was “disgusted” over the veto by Russia and China. Interestingly, the vetoed resolution expressed “its strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Syria”, also condemned “all violence” and called for “an inclusive Syrian-led political process”. 
Ahead of the vote, US President Barack Obama said Assad had lost all legitimacy and that the international community “must work to protect the Syrian people from this abhorrent brutality.”
The UN estimates that at least 5,400 people have died in the Syrian crackdown in the past one year.
India’s vote was hailed by Human Rights Watch, which Sunday said New Delhi had “seen through Assad’s lies”.
”By supporting the UN resolution, India has rightly supported the Syrian people,” a spokeswoman for the US-based rights body said, adding, “India has seen through (Bashar) Assad’s lies, and shown itself to be an independent world leader.”


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