When Muammar Gaddafi embarrassed India

Libyan strongman Muammar Gaddafi once caused a major diplomatic embarassment to India when he supported the idea of an independent state for Kashmir.

New Delhi: Libyan strongman Muammar Gaddafi,
who was killed on Thursday, once caused a major diplomatic
embarassment to India when he supported the idea of an
"independent state" for Kashmir and said that it should be a
`Baathist state` between India and Pakistan.

In his maiden address to the UN General Assembly in 2009,
the maverick leader also mentioned India as among the
countries that will be competing for a permanent seat in the
Security Council while opposing the induction of big powers
into the powerful body.

Gaddafi, who has rarely been a person India has been
comfortable with, in his speech railed against India and
Kashmir as well.

"Kashmir should be an independent state, not Indian, not
Pakistani. We should end this conflict. It should be a
Ba`athist state between India and Pakistan," said Gaddafi,
shunned internationally for much of his rule because the West
accused him of terrorism.

It was for the first time in recent times that a Muslim
leader outside the Indian sub-continent had advocated
Kashmir’s complete independence both from India and Pakistan.

Speaking with contempt on a range of issues, the Arab
world`s longest serving leader said opening the doors of the
UNSC for big powers would "add more poverty, more injustice,
more tension at the world level". He came to power in 1969 and
his years of quixotic and often brutal rule came to an end
early this year.

"There would be high competition between Italy, Germany
Indonesia, India, Pakistan, Philippines, Japan, Argentina,
Brazil ...," Gaddafi said during his more than
one-and-a-half-hour long address.

Stressing that there must be equality among member
states, Gaddafi had noted that since India and Pakistan were
both nuclear powers, if India had a seat then Pakistan would
want one as well.

He also struck a raw nerve in Indian foreign policy
circles by likening his crackdown against the Libyan
Opposition to India`s actions in Kashmir on the eve of the UN
Security Council debate and vote against Libya in February
this year.

Gaddafi, in a missive to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh,
sought India`s support for his actions, as civil war broke out
in Libya.

India voted for the UNSC resolution, which was passed

Gaddafi`s mercurial character, though, was on full
display on Libya`s national day in March this year which he

In a five-hour address in Tripoli, he mentioned India at
least five times, including saying that he would give future
commercial contracts to Indian and Chinese companies and that
he was very pleased with India`s vote in the UN Security

Noting that Security Council reform does not mean
increasing the member states, he said in his UNGA address,
"It will just make things worse...Many big countries will be
added further to the former big countries that we already have
and like this it will be outweighed."

"We reject having more seats," said the Libyan leader
since it would give "rise to more superpowers, crush the small

After being introduced in the General Assembly Hall as
the "leader of the revolution, the President of the African
Union and the king of kings of Africa, Gaddafi shattered
protocol by giving a rambling speech that stretched for 90
minutes instead of the allotted 15.

Donned in long brown robes and a black hat, he read from
hand-written notes and regularly referred to an assortment of

Calling the UN General Assembly ineffectual, Gaddafi
likened the world body to the Speakers` Corner in London`s
Hyde Park where all people can come to speak their mind.

The head of the African Union also suggested that the
swine flu was designed for military purposes, and defended the
Somali pirates. "Somalis are not pirates, we are pirates," he
said. "We went there, we took their economic zones, we took
their fish," he said.

"Libya, India, Japan, America, any country in the world
you just name it, all of us, we`re all pirates," he added. He had slammed both the United States and the United
Nations, and termed the Security Council as the terrorist

The Security Council "is political feudalism for those
who have a permanent seat .It should not be called the
Security Council, it should be called the Terror Council."

Resorting to theatrics, Gaddafi also waved aloft a copy
of the UN charter and seemed to tear it up, saying he did not
recognize the authority of the document.

He suggested those who caused "mass murder" in Iraq must
be tried, defended the right of the Taliban to establish an
Islamic emirate, wondered whether swine flu was cooked up in a
laboratory as a weapon.

Gaddafi asked that compensation of 7.77 trillion dollars
should be given to African nations for centuries of

He had also demanded a probe into the assassinations of
John F Kennedy and Martin Luther King.


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