Discussion on and the Unanimous Resolution relating to the war in Iraq, Rajya Sabha, India's Upper House of Parliament, New Delhi, April 9, 2003
MR. SPEAKER: I am putting before the House following resolution regarding Iraq which has been unanimously approved by all the political parties.
"Reflecting national sentiment, this House deplores the military action by the coalition forces led by the USA against a sovereign Iraq. This military action, with a view to changing the Government of Iraq, is unacceptable. The resultant suffering of the innocent people of Iraq, specially women and children is a matter of grave human dimension. This action is without the specific sanction of the UN Security Council and is not in conformity with the UN Charter. The House, therefore, expresses profound anguish and deep sympathy for the people of Iraq.
This House expresses its satisfaction at the quick response of the Government of India to the UN appeal for immediate humanitarian relief to the suffering people of Iraq and for the decision of the Government of India to commit Rs. 100 crore in cash and kind to the UN including 50,000 Metric Tonnes of Wheat to the World Food Programme and trusts that, if required, additional assistance will also be provided.
This House calls for the immediate cessation of hostilities and quick withdrawal of coalition forces from Iraq.
This House also calls upon the UNO to protect the sovereignty of Iraq and ensure that the re-construction of Iraq is done under UN auspices."
SHRI S. JAIPAL REDDY: This is an extraordinary Resolution. There was a kind of predetermined perverse plan of the coalition powers to invade Iraq and oust the regime there. They did go through a lot of Motions in the United Nations Security Council. They are all desiccating formalities. America has not made out any moral cases before invading Iraq. It has not been able to establish any credible link between Iraq and the 11th September incident and also not been able to so far gather any evidence about the weapons of mass destruction. The America has now propounded a very dangerous doctrine –doctrine of pre-emption. India, as a nation, needs to be on guard against the implications of the unilaterist toxin that America is propounding. Therefore, we must look at this not merely in terms of the health of the international polity but also in terms of our own national interest. We must also ensure that the United Nations does not go the way the League of Nations went.
SHRI SOMNATH CHATTERJEE: The countries that are today indulging in naked aggression are members of the United Nations and are all committed to the maintenance of the Charter and the importance and the lofty ideals that are contained that are contained therein that all nations should conduct themselves according to certain norms, international laws and standards of behaviour. However, the President of the United States has said that they do not need anybody’s permission to go on war against any other country. Therefore, should we not react very strongly against that? Today, the people of entire world have been on the streets protesting against this brutality. Who has given the authority to the United States to be the policeman? Inspectors have been appointed under UN Resolution. We can say that this type of international behaviour is nothing but a jungle law. We know that the real objective is to capture the source of oil and our national interest is affected apart from the fact that Iraq has been of our steadfast and closest friends in the international affairs.
Therefore, we demand that they should immediately withdraw and United Nations should step in for the purpose of reconstruction and rehabilitation of Iraq. Every country in the world and all the peace-loving people in the world will stand by them for the purpose of early rehabilitation and restoration of that great country.
DR. VIJAY KUMAR MALHOTRA: For the last 50 years; we have, in one voice, expressed our views on international happenings. Today, this resolution conveys the sentiments of the people of India. This House condemns the attack on Iraq by the USA and allied forces. If the UNO becomes irrelevant then it will be quite dangerous for the whole world. Therefore, the entire world must ponder over the relevance and importance of UNO. If the world becomes a uni-polar world, then it will be an ominous sign to the entire world. Undoubtedly, there is a need to act against the nation which possess chemical weapons and to destroy the weapons of mass destruction. However, attacking any country on the excuse of chemical weapons is in no way justifiable. The responsibility in this regard rests with the UNO and the Security Council. Turning a blind eye to the World body and invading any other country is also in no way justifiable. Various sections in the House have expressed their views to stop bloodshed in Iraq. I am happy to note that ours is the first country in the World to take a lead in getting a Resolution unanimously passed by the Parliament. There is no justification for the continued stay of US and British forces in Iraq and they must leave Iraq. Reconstruction work must start there under the aegis of the UNO. It is a matter of pride that we have made an announcement to give an assistance worth Rs.100 crore, including foodgrains, to our friendly nation.
SHRI MULAYAM SINGH YADAV: India has steadfastly followed the principle that it won’t remain indifferent, if any nation is attacked in the world. With this Resolution, we have once again demonstrated to the world that India is united and will also remain united in the face of atrocities being committed anywhere in the world. The USA has created a dangerous situation by making UNO irrelevant.
If there is need to destroy Weapons of Mass Destruction, the USA should take the initiative in this regard. This will lead to annihilation of all WMD on this planet. America is playing a double game, adopting a dual policy. On the one hand, it has committed itself to combating terrorism and on the other, given tacit support to Pakistan. What is the reaction of the Union Government in this regard? I demand that the USA should immediately withdraw its forces. The sovereignty of Iraq should be upheld and the people of Iraq should decide the formation of the Government there.
SHRI RAM VILAS PASWAN: We are passing through an era in which we are concerned about our own nation. This war has been imposed on Iraq. No Chemical weapons have been found in Iraq so far. Everything has been razed to ground including the palace of Saddam Hussain. America is an aggressor. In order to check America’s influence, we all should unitedly create an atmosphere to contain the US intrusion. We condemn this aggression.
SHRI K. YERRANNAIDU: Every political Party has condemned the unilateral action of the USA on Iraq. The USA has taken a unilateral action on Iraq. This is in violation of the international laws. Iraq is a good friend of India. Even on the Jammu and Kashmir issue, the Iraq has always supposed India. That is why, we are supporting Iraq against the unilateral action taken by the USA. We are asking for the withdrawal of the forces. Whatever reconstruction or whatever food or whatever assistance may be provided to Iraq should be under the United Nations only. The United Nations should take up the work of governance. They should take up the rehabilitation and reconstruction work so that democracy will come into that country.
SHRI CHANDRAKANT KHAIRE: Today is the 20th day of war on Iraq. The whole world has condemned this war and the aftermath effect thereof. America wants to have control over the oil reserves in Iraq. This is the sole objective of America. My submission is that peace should be restored there through the intervention of United Nation Security Council and America should withdraw its troops from Iraq.
SHRI K. MALAISAMY: Our country, by virtue of its neutrality and its non-aligned policy, has come out with a specific Resolution to condemn and to say to the entire world that here is one country, with an unanimous Resolution of Parliament, we are able to say what the aggressor doing is wrong. The Government of India must make all out efforts to stop and cease the war forthwith and the U.S. troops and its allied should be immediately withdrawn.
SHRI ADHI SANKAR: The war is not merely an attack on Iraq but it is an attack against the innocent people; it is an attack against the humanity; and it is an attack against the sovereignty of other countries. The coalition forces must be withdrawn from Iraq; the United Nations peace-keeping forces must be deployed; reconstruction activities must be under the supervision of the United Nations; and the sovereignty of Iraq must be restored.
SHRI RASHID ALVI: The matter of concern is not only that the US has attacked Iraq, but the very objective of the United Nations has been defeated. Today, the US wants to destroy Iraq by saying that it has deadly weapons. The manner in which the US and Pakistan spoke yesterday, has created a very dangerous situation for us. I support this Resolution and urge upon the Government that merely condemnation in these circumstances is not enough. All the political parties in the Government should learn a lesson from this US attack on Iraq and strive for creating harmony among the people of our country. We should make ourselves more strong, which is the need of the hour.
DR. RAGHUVANSH PRASAD SINGH: Had the Parliament not passed this unanimous resolution, it would have been a big mistake. The US attack is being condemned the world over. The US is following the path of Hitler. We want that there should be ceasefire. The US forces must be withdrawn and the reconstruction work in Iraq should be undertaken for which the Government should take a lead. The US itself is a big trader of weapons and it is going to disarm other nations. It reflects hypocrisy and double standard. India must be alert about this hypocrisy of US and the other nations of the world should be united against the US. The Government should take an initiative to build World Parliament.
SHRI PURNO A. SANGMA: First of all, the war is not about morals. It is plainly about the national interest of an individual country. The war is about commercial interest of a country. The war clearly shows the incapability and the failure of the United Nations system. The United Nations has failed and I think, something has to be done about it. The fourth lesson that we should learn is about the way the war has been fought. The entire Iraq War has gone so much on high-tech. We need to see our defence system itself now. The last point that I would like to make is that the United States will perhaps win war in Iraq, but winning peace in Iraq is much more important.
SHRIMATI KRISHNA BOSE: Since the Iraq crisis broke out, in the UN and elsewhere, India has said all the right things that in international crises, we should have a multilateral approach and certainly not unilateral military approach. We have lived in colonial times. We know the humiliation of that. So, remembering that we must not do anything which will bring back colonial rule to any of our neighbouring countries. By bringing this Resolution, we have proved our allegiance to the bond of common humanity.
SHRI DEVENDRA PRASAD YADAV: The US invasion on Iraq is a direct attack on the sovereignty of Iraq and the entire humanity. The weak nations of the third world are being sidelined today. The US is neglecting the world opinion. If the third world countries do not unite against this dictatorial attitude of the US and do not take a lesson from it, then the world will reach a dangerous turn. The third world countries should unitedly form an alternative United Nations, because the cruel face of the democracy of the capitalist countries is worst than the dictatorship.
SHRI G.M. BANATWALLA: The United Nations has become helpless today. In the present world order, no country should be allowed to behave in a whimsical manner in gross violation of the international laws and international principles. The civilised world shall have to ponder over the ways to deal with such a situation and the global terrorism perpetrated by U.S.A. The United Nations has been working to preserve peace. The U.N. imposed sanctions on Iraq and appointed U.N. weapons Inspectors to coerce Iraq to destroy its weapons of mass destruction. The United Nations was doing its job in a peaceful manner but America tried to exploit the situation. Thus, there is need to put our heads together to deal with a country that upholds no moral values and cares a fig for the international laws and conventions. The time has come when sanctions should be imposed on America and lifted from Iraq. We demand that reconstruction of Iraq should be taken up immediately under the supervision of United Nations and its sovereignty and integrity should be maintained.
SHRI BHARTRUHARI MAHTAB: History repeats itself if the people have as tendency to forget. It is not for the first time that incursion or invasion has occurred unilaterally by any country on any State. When we are deliberating on the situation of today, in 1956, when the Soviet Union invaded Hungary, what was India’s reaction? We did not support the resolution moved by western powers. When the Soviet Union invaded Czechoslovakia. What was India’s reaction? I would humbly submit that the Government of the day did not condemn the action of the Soviet Union though the House passed a Resolution. Again in 1980 when the Soviet forces marched into Afghanistan India refused to join the public condemnation of the Soviet Union.
I would submit here that now a new chapter is being added to history and it is not only the right-thinking people’s voice but it is also for the freedom-loving people of this world that this Resolution must be passed unanimously.
SHRI AJOY CHAKRABORTY: All the Opposition Parties and also some allies of the NDA were demanding that a unanimous Resolution should be adopted. George W. Bush and Tony Blair have committed a heinous crime in the history of the world. Both of them should be tried before the International Court of Justice as war criminals. Even a majority of the people in Britain and America are not in support of the war. They are against the war and in favour of peace. I strongly condemn the barbarous acts of George W. Bush and Tony Blair. I hope that the spirit of the Resolution should be implemented by the Government of India.
SHRI ALI MOHD. NAIK: This war is without any sanction of any world body, known as the UNO. Everything has been thrown to winds. I condemn the atrocities committed by allied forces on people of Iraq, especially on children and women. UNO has failed in its objective. How to strengthen the UNO is now a bigger question and a bigger problem for the world? My request to the Government of India is that they should try that the war should be stopped and the forces, which have entered in Iraq, should immediately leave the place. The reconstruction work in Iraq should be done through some world body, UNO. I appreciate the Government of India’s action in announcing aid for the reconstruction of Iraqi people. I also request the Government of India to talk to the world leaders, to world organisations and to different countries that the integrity and sovereignty of Iraq should be maintained.
SHRI AMAR ROY PRADHAN: United States of America and the United Kingdom in a barbaric and inhuman way declared a war against Iraq. I fully endorse the view that has been expressed in the Resolution. There are peace-loving people not only in India but all over the world. I think, some message should go to the world through this unanimous Resolution.
SHRI E. PONNUSWAMY: I honestly feel that this Resolution should have come twenty days earlier. Saddam Hussein is a ruler of his own country; may be, on his attitude towards governance, we may differ. However, I could not apprehend the reason behind the war. He has not done anything against the United States of America. The war against Iraq is not only monstrous, but also disastrous and barbaric. Though we are a peace-loving country and we do not want a war at the sametime we do not want to be offended by anybody. If the need arises, we will rise as one, as today, to defend ourselves. The United States of America talks about democracy, but it has created problems in all the countries. On the one hand, the Government should condemn the attitude of the United States of America and the United Kingdom and on the other hand they should take initiatives for the welfare of the humanity.
SHRI JOACHIM BAXLA: This resolution is an expression of our national sentiments. The Americans and British army do not have any right to attack on Iraq. Inspite of that, they targeted Iraq and killed thousands of innocent men, women and children. This is not only a dangerous sign for Iraq but poses a threat perception to all the sovereign countries as well as developing countries. India is a powerful and democratic country of the world. Therefore, it has become a prime concern for our country. For them, Iraq is an experiment. If they succeed in their experiment then I do not have any doubt that these superpowers will target other weaker countries of the world. I, therefore, unequivocally criticise the attack on Iraq and demand immediate withdrawal of coalition forces from Iraq and also to initiate reconstruction work under the United Nations.
SHRI RAMDAS ATHAWALE: America has attacked on Iraq without bothering U.N. and Security Council Resolution. If these superpowers choose to attack any other country in such a way, then nobody will be secure. This is indeed a good thing that today we are discussing on this resolution. It has been the tradition of our country that it has always stood against the injustice. There were no W.M.D. in Iraq. Therefore, there was no need to attack on Iraq. If America sincerely wants to root out terrorism then Bush should have targeted Pakistan.
SHRI P.C. THOMAS: America’s war on Iraq is actually not a war. It is an invasion and aggression. We cannot think of a war where a Head of a nation has been so cruel to tell the Head of the other nation to leave the nation within 48 hours, or else they will do this and that. The real purpose of the war is commercial which is oil. Secondly, it is rather too personal and it has to be decried in the maximum possible way. I am happy that a Resolution of this type has been brought up under the Speaker’s leadership on this matter. I am also happy that all Indians are one to oppose the war.
SARDAR SIMRANJIT SINGH MANN: I totally and wholeheartedly support the Resolution against the aggression committed on Iraq. I also agree with most of the Members that war crimes have taken place and aggressors must face the international court of justice and crime at Hague. The majority is always right! Even an undemocratic person like Napoleon said that God marches with the biggest battalions. When Chinese invaded Tibet, the late Jawaharlal Nehru and India’s foreign policy humbly submitted to that aggression. But Jawaharlal Nehru and India’s foreign policy accepted that aggression.
THE MINISTER OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS (SHRI YASHWANT SINHA): In this Resolution, there has been complete unanimity in this House and we are very happy that it has been possible for us to agree on a unanimous Resolution reflecting the feelings and the sentiments in the country as a whole. Our country is a nation which has the capacity and the genius to stand together and forget our immediate differences. India’s foreign policy has been based on principles. It has been based on pragmatism and above all, it has always promoted India’s national interest. India has been using this language over a period of time. Whatever may have happened, it will be the people of Iraq who will take control of their future once again and it will be the people of Iraq who will control their own destiny. This is not only our wish, it will be our effort to work in that direction. Our confidence arises from the unity that we have demonstrated here today. Our confidence arises from the fact that we are a democracy and I cannot think of a single example where a large democracy can be subdued by any power on earth. India cannot be subdued. Therefore, let us not entertain any apprehensions about our capacity to be able to meet the challenge, which might lie for us in future. India also has very friendly relationship with the U.S. and despite our differences on this particular issue, we would like our relationship with the U.S. to develop. I would like to assure you that in whatever we do in future, we will continue to keep our national interest uppermost in our mind. Wherever and whatever role we are capable of playing, whatever leadership we are capable of providing, India will not flinch from providing that leadership, India will not flinch from playing that role.
The Resolution was adopted unanimously