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Press release relating to Yugoslavia

New Delhi
May 11, 1999


Government of India continue to watch and monitor developments relating to the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. As the NATO military action against that country enters the 49th day, we again express our serious concern over its increasingly untoward and tragic consequences.

The call made by India and a number of other countries for an immediate end to all hostilities has regrettably remained unheeded, and there is mounting human and material devastation. We note with particular concern the effects of the continuing and intense aerial bombardment by NATO forces which has not spared important cities and towns including Belgrade. Hospitals and other civilian establishments as well as diplomatic premises have become targets causing considerable loss of innocent civilian lives and destruction of human habitation. We are also witnessing far-reaching ecological and environmental damage. India remains seriously concerned over the large scale displacement of people out of Kosovo and the unremitting hardship and suffering that they are undergoing.

These incidents only confirm that the very fundamentals of NATO's approach are wrong. This all round human tragedy has led to rising tensions and has created instability in the region. The danger of the conflict spreading remains. These developments starkly underline what we in India, together with a good part of the international community have all along been emphasizing - that a solution to the problems relating to the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia cannot be found through military means. Government of India had even as early as October 1998 urged that the problem should be resolved through consultation and dialogue and not by confrontation. This approach was reiterated through its statements of March 24 and 25, 1999. We also recall statements made by our representatives on these developments in UN fora, including the UN Commission for Human Rights.

Hostilities and disintegration along ethnic and religious lines must be brought to an end in the Balkans. This alone will end the instability in the region. We therefore once again call for an immediate end to NATO operations and a dialogue between the parties involved. This would allow the refugees to return to their homes safely and people to rebuild their lives. Any solution so arrived at must ensure the sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

Government's attention has been drawn to proposals for a diplomatic, negotiated solution. We welcome any move in this regard, and call upon NATO to show responsibility and respond positively.

 

Official Spokesman's Response to a Question

The Government of India is concerned over the Defence Capabilities Initiative of the new strategic concept of NATO that permits operations beyond the Euro-Atlantic region and outside the territory of the Alliance. Such action, if undertaken, would contravene international law, norms of peaceful co-existence between nations and the UN Charter. Government finds unacceptable the increasing tendency of NATO to usurp the power and function of the UN Security Council. NATO is an alliance of a few countries and cannot seek to disregard the universal organization which is the United Nations. The propensity of NATO to extend its areas of operation is a source of concern to all countries, big and small.