Indian Decade

India Quiet on Gaddafi Killing

A reluctance to offend the Muslim world has been behind India’s subdued reaction to Gaddafi’s death.

India has reacted guardedly to the death of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, in contrast to much of the Western world, where politicians and commentators have vied with each other to see who can find the strongest words to condemn the late colonel. 

Even more conspicuous than the quiet over Gaddafi himself, though, has been the official reluctance to discuss the most important question: whether the actual killing of Gaddafi was good or bad.

Two factors have shaped the Indian reaction – the current international diplomatic vortex, and India’s desire to be politically correct in the eyes of other Islamic countries. India, currently a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, can’t afford to be at odds with international opinion on key issues. At the same time, Delhi doesn’t want to annoy Muslim nations and interests.

India’s reaction, then, has to be seen in the context of India’s relations with the Arab and Muslim worlds, which is why when it comes to the S, M and XL global reactions, India’s has been in the first size.

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Indian External Affairs Ministry spokesman Vishnu Prakash captured the official tone well when he said: ‘We have seen reports that Col. Gaddafi has been killed in Sirte, Libya. The strife in Libya and the suffering of its people has been a matter of concern to us. We hope that peace and stability would soon return to Libya. India’s relations with the people of Libya are deep and long standing. At this juncture, India reiterates its readiness to extend all possible assistance to the people of Libya in their political transition and rebuilding of the country.’