Monday, July 14, 2003

Why Indians Won’t Go to Iraq

In 1941, following pro-Axis coup, it took one Indian brigade to put Iraq under British control. Pentagon planners probably hoped that the Indians would show same skill six decades later, but this would remain only a speculation. Indian government refused to send proposed 15,000-20,000 men to assist Americans in their “peacekeeping” of Iraq.
Indian decision is quite understandable, considering the unpopularity of Iraq war among Indian population. Furthermore, American plan to have as many non-US militaries in Iraq as possible could be viewed as a American way of solving their own manpower/moral problems – there are currently three times more US servicemen in Iraq than planned and the casualties from guerrilla activity, although negligible in military terms, began to reflect on American popular mood. Indian voters, on the other hand, would hardly like to see their boys in body bags replacing American boys in body bags.

But the main reason why Indians won’t go is military logic. India borders Pakistan and China – two major nuclear powers with a history of military confrontations with India. With issues not resolved, and with the threat of war constantly in the air, deploying entire division far away from Indian borders would be justified only if such action is in Indian interest. But that doesn’t seem to be the case right now.

In the meantime, Jutarnji list entertains Croatian public with the news about some 40 Croatian special forces soldiers being trained for peacekeeping duties in Iraq. Jutarnji list is usually seen as pro-government, and this is surprising; considering overwhelmingly anti-war and anti-US moods of Croatian public, promoting such policies would only harm present government in election year.


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