New Delhi, July 23: Two days after the Bush administration offered to work on a wider UN resolution, the government has made it clear than an explicit mandate from the world body would only be a condition and not sufficient reason for sending troops to Iraq.
Foreign minister Yashwant Sinha told the Lok Sabha today that the government would reconsider sending troops only if there is a clear and explicit UN mandate. But even then, he emphasised, the situation on the ground and the command and control arrangement would have to be taken into account before reaching a final decision.
Responding to the Opposition, the minister said US secretary of state Colin Powell, during their telephone conversation on Monday, wanted to know whether India would be willing to consider deploying troops if a wider UN mandate is in place.
Sinha, however, disagreed with the suggestion of Opposition parties that India should not even consider deploying troops as long as American and British forces are stationed in Iraq.
“How can the occupying forces be able to withdraw if an alternative arrangement” is not in place, the minister said.
Sinha also recalled that leader of Opposition Sonia Gandhi had written a letter to the Prime Minister on June 4 in which she had talked about the need for an explicit UN mandate for India to consider deploying troops. It was clear that the minister was trying to drive home the point across the Opposition benches that even the Congress chief had not rejected outright the possibility of considering troop deployment to stabilise Iraq.
Congress chief whip Priya Ranjan Das Munshi, Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, Lok Janshakti Party leader Ram Vilas Paswan and CPM member Roop Chand Pal had contended that the question of sending troops did not arise in view of the unanimous resolution Parliament had adopted.
Stating that the killing of Saddam Hussein’s sons indicates that the “regime is over”, George W. Bush has urged all countries to contribute militarily and financially to promote freedom and security of the country, a PTI report from Washington says.
“The former regime is gone and will not be coming back,” the US President said and called Uday and Qusay, who were both killed yesterday during a firefight with US forces, “two of the regime’s chief henchmen... responsible for torture, maiming and murder of countless Iraqis”.
Bush referred to yesterday’s UN Security Council meeting in New York attended by members of Iraq’s governing council and said secretary-general Kofi Annan has welcomed the council as a “broadly representative Iraqi partner with whom the UN and the international community can engage to build Iraq’s future”.