Aint Here To Get Troops For Iraq, Says Gen Myers

New Delhi, July 29: | Updated: Jul 30 2003, 05:30am hrs
The US has said the decision to commit troops for stabilisation process in Iraq would be of individual nations. The visiting chairman of the US joint chiefs of staff Gen Richard B Myers said the situation in Iraq was complex and challenging but his country had the military might to overcome it.

He said during his talks with Indian officials, he made it clear that the US was committed to bringing stability to Iraq and Afghanistan and not to allow terrorists bases to grow there.

Discounting reports that his visit was arranged at short notice to persuade India to send its troops to Iraq, Gen Myers told mediapersons at a press conference that though the situation in Iraq had cropped up during his talks with military leaders here, his India tour was not linked to asking India to deploy troops in Iraq. My schedule here was worked out three months back and aimed at boosting military to military ties between the two countries, he said.

He also refuted reports that the US was asking India to join the international peacekeeping force in Afghan declaring that the operations in Afghan would soon be taken over by Nato. Terming the defence ties between the two countries as robust, he said these had not been affected by Indias decision not to send troops to Iraq. Indias refusal to send troops does not bother us. The US is a good friend of India. I am grateful for Indias cooperation in war against international terrorism, he said.

Elaborating on troop commitment in Iraq, Gen Myers said that 19 countries now formed the stabilisation force in Iraq with 15 more nations promising troops. He said besides these, more nations had chipped in with medical and developmental help. He said his talks with Indian officials had focused mainly on joint defence policy group meeting proposed to be held in Washington on August 6-7. The DPG meeting,the third in the series,would be preceded by meeting of security cooperation group and military cooperation group on August 4-5.

On whether the US was moving for a UN resolution on Iraq to provide for a mandate for stabilisation force, he said though as a military man he was not privy to political decisions, as far as he knew no decision had yet been taken on this.

Describing his talks with chairman, chief of staff committee, Admiral Madhvendera Singh and Air Chief S Krishnswamy as very productive, he said these had centered on boosting military ties.