Tuesday, Jun 17, 2003
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Sir, The United States President, George W. Bush, dropped in to meet the Deputy Prime Minister, L.K. Advani, (during the latter's visit to the U.S.) not out of any special consideration for India. The sole purpose was to force India to despatch troops to Iraq. The U.S. cannot afford to lose a soldier everyday in encounters in Iraq.
The Indian Government appears to be eager to oblige the U.S., but is held back only due to the adverse public opinion back home. Earlier, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and the Centre displayed lopsided wisdom in condemning the U.S. military action and asking for its immediate withdrawal from Iraq through a resolution in Parliament during the final stages of the war.
What is the rationale now for sending our troops to help out the same occupying forces?
Sir, Sending Indian troops to Iraq will only complicate the delicate situation prevailing in West Asia. The United States and it allies completely ignored the United Nations and a majority of the countries before invading Iraq.
By sending our troops, we may get good business contracts and may earn goodwill from the U.S. But the ethics and morals involved in the issue have to be considered before taking any decision. India should think of the long-term implications of its decision.
Sir, __ This refers to your Editorial `Treading with caution' and the article `Should India do the U.S. bidding?' ( June 12 ). You have rightly stated that a decision must follow a clear national political consensus.
There would be no difficulty sending a peacekeeping force under the aegis of the United Nations. Though the request is from a source that has proved mightier than the U.N., serving under the U.N. would give a semblance of independence while functioning under the U.S. command would mean a subservient role and loss of self-respect. If we send troops, will the U.S. assure support to India's entry into the Security Council and would it support our stand on Kashmir? We have to take a bold decision considering the national interest alone.
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