The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
Email This Page
Mandate fine, but no Iraq troops yet

New Delhi, Oct. 17: India has welcomed the unanimous backing for yesterday’s UN resolution on Iraq, but remains non-committal on sending troops there.

A UN Security Council resolution calling on nations to support the US-led occupation of Iraq with troops and money was unanimously adopted yesterday, but France, Russia and Germany have already issued a declaration saying they do not intend to increase financial or military contributions for Iraq’s recovery.

India has been under US pressure to send troops to Iraq, but the continuing violence and political instability there has led it to defer a decision on committing forces to the war-ravaged country.

But, taking note of the resolution’s appeal to UN member states to “assist the Iraqi people in their efforts in the reconstruction of Iraq”, Delhi has said it is ready to help.

“India welcomes the unanimous adoption of Security Council resolution 1511 on Iraq as a positive step towards the restoration of sovereignty of Iraq and the Iraqi people,” a statement issued by the foreign ministry this afternoon said.

“We have taken positive note of the re-affirmation in the resolution of the rights of the Iraqi people to determine their political future, and in this context the mandate of the governing council of Iraq to draw up a time-table and programme by December 15, 2003 for the drafting of a new Constitution and holding of democratic elections under the Constitution,” the statement said. But it added: “However, the resolution lacks specificity on the timing of transfer of sovereignty.”

The foreign ministry also said the resolution “envisages strengthening of the role of the UN in Iraq in areas of humanitarian assistance, economic reconstruction and in the political transition leading to establishment of representative government”.

After the Cabinet Committee on Security ruled out sending troops on July 14, India had said it would have a rethink only after an “explicit mandate” from the Security Council. Even so, despite yesterday’s UN resolution, Delhi continues to hesitate on sending troops.

Until now, India has been willing to help only in restoring infrastructure, education, communication and healthcare facilities, besides attending to Iraq’s civilian needs.

To this end, it said it would take part in next week’s International Donors Conference in Madrid. But it is not unwilling to go any further.

Email This Page