NEW DELHI: Thirty years after the war over a group of islands in the Atlantic Ocean, Argentina is looking at India for support in ensuring that the disputed region is not ‘illegally’ exploited for its natural resources, especially hydrocarbons, by Britain.
Located about 550 km from the Argentine coast, the archipelago - called the Malvinas by Argentina and the Falklands by the UK - has been the source of a sovereignty dispute since 1833. It led to an all-out war for 74 days in 1982, after Argentine troops took over the islands on April 2.
In an interview to Express, ambassador of Argentina to India Ernesto Carlos Alvarez valued India’s traditional stance on the Malvinas to call on the UK to restart bilateral negotiations.
He added that the Argentine Government ‘will also appreciate the efforts of the Indian government in order to avoid any direct or indirect contribution to the development of unilateral British activities in the disputed area’.
There has been rising tension and rhetoric tension in the months leading to the April 2 anniversary. Earlier this year, Argentina had accused the UK of moving a nuclear-armed submarine near the Falklands, which was denied by the British foreign office.
In the latest salvo, Argentine foreign minister Hector Timerman this month announced that legal notices were being served on five oil companies for participating in explorations around the disputed area.
Indian foreign policy’s traditional position is that it does not recognises the UK’s sovereignty over the Falkland and would like both parties to talk to each other. The UK has so far refused to start bilateral negotiations. Last month, the Argentina embassy had organised a discussion in Delhi to create more awareness about the Malvinas issue.
“Because of its own history, since its Independence, India has committed itself to the peaceful resolution
of disputes and has expressed its conviction that there should be an end to colonialism in all its forms,” Alvarez said.