India raises Cameron 'mistake' in Syria speech

NEW DELHI (AFP) - British Prime Minister David Cameron mistakenly named India among countries which had concluded that Syrian regime forces were behind a chemical attack near Damascus, India's foreign ministry said on Tuesday.

New Delhi took note of the lapse during Cameron's August 29 speech to lawmakers in London, in which he called for Britain to join military action against Syria after the attack near Damascus.

More than 1,000 people died, according to US intelligence.

"We asked how this had come about and they admitted that this was a mistake," a foreign ministry spokesman said, saying the matter had been raised "informally".

Cameron named India alongside other countries including Canada, Australia, Turkey and the United States which had concluded that forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad had used chemical weapons.

India has expressed concern about the worsening violence in Syria, but has pressed for any action against the Assad regime to be authorised through the United Nations.

Cameron suffered a stunning parliamentary defeat in his bid to authorise action against the Syrian regime, dealing him a personal blow and undermining plans by US President Barack Obama to launch military strikes.

A spokesman for the British High Commission in New Delhi admitted the "innocent mistake" and attributed it to an oversight during hurried preparations for the emergency debate.

"There's a lot of work that has to be done in a very short period of time," he said.

"It's a little something that has fallen through the gaps."

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