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Situation in Iraq not conducive to sending troops: India

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

New Delhi, April 13, IRNA -- The Indian government on Monday said that
the situation in Iraq was not conducive to sending troops to that 
country. 
Indian Finance Minister Jaswant Singh, in reply to a question in 
Ahmedabad in the western Indian state of Gujarat, told reporters: "My 
personal assessment is that Indian troops would not be sent to Iraq 
clearly as the situation right now does not warrant such a move," 
reported the local media on Tuesday. 
He added: "Also, the lack of a UN mandate is a major reason why 
India has not sent troops to Iraq." 
Indian Army Chief Gen Nirmal Chand Vij also said that any Indian 
decision whether or not to commit troops to the US-led multinational 
force in strife-torn Iraq will be decided by the new government. 
"I will not comment on whether India would send its troops to 
Iraq. It is a decision for the new government to take," Vij told 
newsmen in Delhi Monday after inaugurating the top army commanders` 
conference called to review the security situation in the region. 
In his inaugural address to his top commanders, the army chief 
also touched on the situation in Iraq as he outlined in detail the 
strategic environment around India. 
Vij also briefed the commanders on his recent interaction with top
US military leaders during his official visit to Washington. The army 
chief, during his visit, met with US Defense Secretary Donald 
Rumsfeld. 
His remarks assume significance in view of the statement made by 
the US State Department deputy spokesman, J. Adams Ereli, that India 
and Bangladesh may contribute troops to Iraq after the war-hit country
regains sovereignty. 
India, for one, has cited "several developments" since the July 
14 Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) 2003 decision to send troops 
in the event of an "explicit UN mandate for the purpose," developments
that would have a bearing on any future decision on the matter. 
India believes that any future decisions in this regard will be 
taken keeping in mind "the realities of the situation on the ground, 
New Delhi`s international responsibilities and domestic needs and 
security concerns." 
Since its July 14 commitment, New Delhi has been debating the 
prudence of sending troops to Iraq at all, the government conscious 
that such a decision could have a direct bearing on the parliamentary 
elections in April-May, 2004. 
2160/LS/210 
End 



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