Washington, Sept. 3: If Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee was under any illusion he would have a tension-free week in New York later this month at the UN General Assembly, he is going to be disappointed.
The question of India sending troops to Iraq may become the central issue during his stay beginning September 20.
This follows President George W. Bush’s decision yesterday to seek Security Council approval of a resolution granting the UN more say in multinational peacekeeping in Iraq and a role in forming a new government.
Secretary of state Colin Powell told a news conference today that “India, Bangladesh and others have their political dynamic to be considered” on sending troops to Iraq. Hoping that a new UN resolution would meet the demands of this “political dynamic”, Powell said peacekeepers in Iraq would be put under a unified command with American officers in charge.
Powell would rally support for the new strategy with phone calls to foreign ministers. The White House is confident it can persuade India, Pakistan and Turkey to commit troops after UN endorsement.