Muammar al-Gaddafi

Since 1967 he is the dictator of Libya and in 2009 he attended the UN general assembly for the first time. In his 96 minutes speech, he attacked everybody – the UN for its failure in preventing 65 wars since 1945; and USA for its stringent security measures.
But what made him to get the headlines in India was his statement on Kashmir. “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,” he said.
Seeking reorganization of the UN without anybody enjoying veto powers, Gaddafi opposed the idea of opening the doors of the UNSC for big powers arguing it would “add more poverty, more injustice, more tension at the world level”. Since India and Pakistan were both nuclear powers, if India had a seat then Pakistan would want one as well. “We reject having more seats,” said the Libyan leader since it would give “rise to more superpowers, crush the small people.”
Unlike the Israel delegation, the Indian trio – External Affairs Minister S M Krishna Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao, and Hardip Singh Puri, India’s Permanent Representative to the UN, who attended the UN general assembly for the first time, did not walk out at Gaddafi.
Though the opinion is divided over the impact of Libyan leader’s speech, there is consensus over the fact that it exposed the widely believed myth that Tripoli was with Delhi on Kashmir. The dictator was being supported by Indira Gandhi in 1970s and early 1980s. In 1984 Indira Gandhi visited Libya and in 2007 External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee followed it up after 23 years.
It seems, however, that Libyan position had changed much earlier. Pakistan dictator General Pervez Musharaf had visited Libya in 2000 and father of Pakistan’s nuclear programme A Q Khan has been accused of giving Tripoli the nuclear know-how, a plan Gaddafi abandoned in lieu of lifting the sanctions later. On September 2 last when Tripoli celebrated “40 years of revolution”, 40 heads of the states’ were present in Tripoli. Unlike Pakistan and Sri Lanka, India was absent. Right now Pakistan president Asif Ali Zardari is in Tripoli on a three day visit.


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