Now Britain Asking India To Send Troops To Iraq

New Delhi, April 29 | Updated: Apr 30 2004, 05:30am hrs
India is again under pressure from Britain and the United States to send its troops to Iraq. Senior officials said that a high-level British defence delegation was here earlier this week to request India to send its forces to the troubled West Asian nation.

This followed the US inability to convince India to send its forces. According to sources this request by the UK has been made on behalf of the US. According to defence ministry sources, the UK officials also admitted that it will be difficult and rather impossible for the US to hand over the charge in June to the Iraqi people.

There is no possibility for Indian government to commit forces to Iraq, but we are willing to participate in humanitarian works and core development projects which will help in maintaining a permanent position in Iraq, added an official.

India had earlier this year committed $10 million aid to Iraq which entitles it to the membership of a donor committee on that country. This will allow it to take part in projects related to infrastructure development in Iraq, senior officials in the Permanent Mission of India to the UN told FE.

India should offer help in areas where we can play a lead role, like taking part in elections to be held in Iraq, since the knowledge India has will be useful to them. This could also include helping in making electoral cards for the people in Iraq. Indias experience in this field has been acknowledged worldwide, he said.

Both the US and the UK governments have been trying to involve India in post-war Iraq in the form of troops since early 2003. In fact, they have been luring India through offers like an agreement on transfer of high-technology knowhow. According to diplomatic sources, India due to its own political compulsions has not been responding.

Some experts are of the view that Indias refusal to send troops to Iraq will have a strong fall-out in the form of stringent riders being attached to defence purchases from the US.