Monday 20 January 2003

'Oil lobby determined to have its war' in Iraq

India—With Canada, most of Europe and the entire Arab world wary of an American war on Iraq, let's turn to Asia for another perspective. To the world's largest democracy, India. To its highly respected former prime minister, Inder K. Gujral, easily the most thoughtful and moderate Indian leader since Jawaharlal Nehru.

Five years after stepping down from office, he remains a popular speaker, from here to America, where his son lives. Gujral was in New York for the fall session of the United Nations as a member of the Indian delegation in the days leading up to the Nov. 8 resolution on Iraq, reconstituting the U.N. weapons inspection system.

"It would be a great tragedy for the world if there was to be a war on Iraq," he said in an interview. "It would be particularly calamitous for our region. But the oil lobby in America is determined to have the war.

"The main American aim seems to be to gain control of the world's second-largest oil reserves and to dictate the flow of oil to the world market. This has, in fact, long been the objective of American diplomacy in oil-rich West Asia."

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