UK presses India to send troops to Afghanistan

Extract :

UK presses India to send troops to Afghanistan

Rajeev Sharma
Tribune News Service
New Delhi, May 2

Great Britain today surprised India by urging the UPA government to contribute troops for International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan and do justice to its own increased role and strategic requirements in the land-locked country.

The proposal was made by British Prime Minister Tony Blair's Foreign Policy Adviser Nigel Shinwald who met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh here this evening for half an hour. British High Commissioner here Michael Arthur was present during Mr Shinwald's meeting with the Prime Minister. …………………………..
An independent British move or something carrying America’s benediction :?:

I ask as the British request certainly does come as large surprise.

I say that not because of a stated Indian disinclination to be involved in Afghanistan, including by way of providing security with troops on the ground.

India after all has been for some time involved in Afghanistan.

During the Taliban days, India was a key player in keeping the Northern Alliance alive.

The Northern Alliance was an important player in Operation Enduring Freedom, not necessarily from a military standpoint but certainly from the standpoint of providing political legitimacy.

The kidnapping and beheading of an Indian in Afghanistan in the past few days has once again brought the issue of India providing security in Afghanistan back in the public eye and the public mood in India seems supportive of a troop deployment to Afghanistan.

My surprise stems from the fact that it has been American policy thus far to placate Pakistan by keeping India out of any security arrangement in Afghanistan.

Indian troops traipsing about at Pakistan’s rear in Afghanistan is something that will cause a major ruction with the Pakistani Generals. The Pakistani Generals will almost certainly be inflicted by nightmares of encirclement if India actually deploys. That is important, as it is the Generals who run Pakistan and because Pakistan is officially designated by America as a “Major Non NATO Ally”.

As it is Pakistan is rather miffed with India opening consulates in Afghanistan in places like Kandahar and complaints have been made to Afghanistan on this account.

Anyway, I think it is a good idea.

India has developed some expertise in combating Islamic terrorism of the Pakistani sponsored variety in mountainous regions. That expertise should be handy in Afghanistan where the same problem exists.

Indian public opinion should also be supportive for troop deployment after the recent beheading of an Indian in Afghanistan.

Shades of the colonial era Great Game induced Anglo-Indian co-operative forays into Afghanistan :wink: ?. Let us hope with better results though.

But in the end back once again to the key question, an independent British move or something carrying America’s benediction :?:

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