NEW DELHI - The US-led international coalition has no right to interfere in Libya's affairs, India said on Tuesday, stepping up its condemnation of the military strikes on Muammar Gadhafi's forces to establish a no-fly zone.
India, which abstained from a UN security council vote to authorize military action, followed fellow BRIC countries China and Russia in condemning the air strikes led by the US, UK and France that have severely weakened Libya's air defenses.
"What is happening in a country, within their internal affairs, no external powers should interfere in it," Pranab Mukherjee, India's finance minister and leader of the lower house of parliament, told lawmakers on Tuesday.
"Nobody, not a couple of countries, can take that decision to change a particular regime," Mukherjee said. "Whether a regime will change or not will depend on the people of that particular country, not by any external forces."
India's Foreign Minister S.M. Krishna called for the "cessation of armed conflict" on Monday, a day after his ministry issued a statement expressing "regret" over the air strikes.
The Brazilian government called late on Monday for a cease-fire in Libya, where air attacks by the US and its allies sought to stop the advance of Gadhafi's forces on rebel-held towns.
The goal of a cease-fire should be to protect civilians and pave the way for dialogue between the Libyan government and its opponents, the Foreign Affairs Ministry said in a statement made just hours after a visit by US President Barack Obama to Brazil.
"After regretting the loss of lives because of the conflict in the country, the Brazilian government hopes that an effective cease-fire be implemented as soon as possible to allow the protection of civilians and the start of dialogue," the statement said.