India today strongly pitched for a political settlement to the Syrian crisis, with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh saying there is no military solution to the lethal conflict that threatens regional stability.
Addressing the UN General Assembly, Singh endorsed efforts by the US and Russia to bring Syria's chemical stockpiles under the international watch and eventually destroy the weapons. He called for the holding of a multilateral conference on the conflict as quickly as possible.
"There is no military solution to this conflict. We must intensify efforts to end the conflict and seek a political settlement," he said.
"The increasingly lethal conflict in Syria is not only a tragedy for the people of Syria, but also threatens stability and security in the region and beyond," he added.
The conflict, he said, has been made worse by the use of chemical weapons.
"The use of chemical weapons, whosoever may have deployed them, must be condemned in the strongest terms. India supports strongly the elimination of chemical weapons material and equipment in Syria," Singh said.
"It is essential that the Geneva-2 conference be convened at the earliest," he added, referring to the proposed UN- backed peace conference to be held in Geneva later this year for talks aimed at ending the Syrian conflict and organising a transition.
India is deeply concerned about the future of West Asia, a region with which it shares deep bonds of history, and "one that is critical for our energy security as well as the livelihoods of nearly seven million Indians who work and live in the region", said Singh.
The Syrian crisis had also figured in Singh's meeting with US President Barack Obama in Washington yesterday and the Prime Minister had reiterated India's consistent stand on a negotiated settlement to the conflict.
Singh also lauded Obama for giving diplomacy another chance with both Syria and Iran.
During his address, Singh said India was encouraged that direct talks had resumed between Israel and Palestine.
"India supports an early realisation of a sovereign, independent, viable and united State of Palestine, with East Jerusalem as its capital, living within secure and recognised borders side-by-side and at peace with Israel. We also remain committed to the Palestinian quest for full membership of the UN," he said.