Sunday, June 22
Indian Troops in Iraq? human beings as cannon fodder
Praful Bidwai, ZNet, June 20, 2003
The proposal to despatch Indian troops to Iraq
under the general command of the United States military has ballooned into a first-rate political controversy in the country. Going by the mood of a well-attended public meeting in New Delhi on Monday -- the very day a Pentagon team met senior Indian officials at President Bush's behest --, there will be fierce opposition to any military collaboration with the occupation forces in Iraq. There may be a lesson in this for Pakistan, which too is considering sending troops to Iraq.
Ironically, if India and Pakistan decide to collaborate militarily with the US in Iraq, each with a view to outmanoeuvring the other, they will end up grievously hurting and victimising themselves!
The Indian government has gone to fairly great lengths towards agreeing on military collaboration with Washington in Iraq since discussions began on the issue in early May. It is now looking for a fig leaf in the form of United Nations authorisation so that Indian troops do not overtly operate under US command and salute the American flag, but seemingly work within a multilateral framework.
It is unclear, though not impossible, if such authorisation can come about via manipulation of the UN Security Council. But it is clear that the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government is being devious. It is presenting the despatch of troops to Iraq as if it were some kind of seamless continuation of the "peace-keeping" operations that India has undertaken under UN auspices for decades. This is totally untrue. [...]