India regrets ongoing air-strikes in Libya

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Nirupama Rao
New Delhi, Mar 20: Gravely concerned over "continuing violence, strife and deteriorating humanitarian situation" in Libya, India today regretted the air strikes by US-led coalition and called upon all parties to abjure use of force and resolve their differences through peaceful means.

"India views with grave concern the continuing violence, strife and deteriorating humanitarian situation in Libya. It regrets the air strikes that are taking place. The measures adopted should mitigate and not exacerbate an already difficult situation for the people of the country," Ministry of External Affairs said.

"Spoke to Ambassador (M) Manimekalai in Tripoli a short while ago. She is cool and calm. Harrowing Saturday night tho'' with jets screaming above, she says (Ambassador)," Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao tweeted.

India hoped that the air strikes would not harm innocent civilians, foreign nationals and diplomatic missions and their personnel, who are still in Libya.

"India calls upon all parties to abjure use of or the threat of use of force and to resolve their differences through peaceful means and dialogue in which the UN and regional organisations should play their roles," the Ministry said in a release.

The US-led military coalition today hit Libyan defence targets with cruise missiles and launched air attacks as Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi vowed to open his arms depots to the people to retaliate against the Western "aggression".

French jets fired the first shots in ''Operation Odyssey Dawn'', the biggest international military intervention in the Arab world since the 2003 invasion of Iraq, destroying tanks and armoured vehicles in eastern Libya, Al-Jazeera reported.

They were joined by the US and the UK who fired over 110 Tomahawk missiles from American and British ships and submarines, hitting about 20 Libyan air and missile defence targets in the capital Tripoli and along the Mediterranean coast, US Navy Vice Adm William Gortney said at a Pentagon briefing.

The UN Security Council had on Thursday adopted a resolution, calling for an immediate ceasefire and authorised "all necessary measures" for protecting civilians in Libya from Gaddafi''s forces.

PTI

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