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Kinshuk Jain asked: What was India's role in the Geneva II Conference?

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  • Gulshan Dietl replies: The Geneva II was a UN-backed conference for ending the civil war in Syria by bringing the Syrian Government and the opposition together. It was held on January 22, 2014 in Montreux followed by the one in Geneva on January 22-23.

    India responded to the international appeal for humanitarian assistance by supplying essential food items, pledging $2 million to the United Nations Syrian Humanitarian Assistance Response Plan (UN-SHARP) and offered technical expertise as also $1 million to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) for the destruction of chemical stockpiles and related facilities in Syria. On the broader political issues, India refrained from taking sides in the Syrian civil war. Thus, it abstained on a UN Security Council resolution that condemned the Syrian regime’s violent crackdown on the protesters as the resolution did not condemn similar violence by the opposition. It also abstained on the UN General Assembly resolution that called for President Bashar al-Assad to step down. It voted for a UN Security Council resolution only after the issues of regime change, military intervention and sanctions were deleted from the text.

    India was invited to the Geneva II along with roughly forty other countries. Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid led the Indian delegation. He expressed concern that the situation in Syria had sharply intensified the sectarian fault-lines across the region and that all shades of religious extremism had infiltrated into Syria from all over the world. He reiterated India’s stand that there can be no military solution to the conflict and no society can be re-ordered from outside. He extended support for an all-inclusive Syrian-led peace process and offered to assist in the implementation of the Geneva II resolutions.

    Posted on March 28, 2014