'India wants to send troops to Afghanistan' | india | Hindustan Times
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'India wants to send troops to Afghanistan'

Pak should not allow a situation when it faces Indian troops on both eastern and western fronts, media reports warned.

india Updated: Jul 06, 2006 22:08 IST

Claiming that India wants to send peacekeeping troops to Afghanistan, the Pakistani media has criticised Islamabad for not doing anything to prevent the move.

Pakistan should not allow a situation when it faces Indian troops on both the eastern and the western fronts, media reports warned.

According to The News, India was contemplating sending troops for peacekeeping at the instance of the US and the European Union.

The daily, in a front-page report, said that there were "serious discussions in New Delhi" on the subject.

"It is safe to presume that the last thing Pakistan would like to see is Indian troops on both its western and eastern borders.

"For over a week now, the Indian government has been contemplating this request, which many feel is not the same as the request to send Indian troops inside Iraq, which it rejected," The News said.

But it said that Islamabad's "silence is deafening" and that there were no "pre-emptive statements coming from Islamabad to block this move".

In a different twist, The Nation said that India was "keen to deploy" its troops in Afghanistan under the coalition command, but the US and NATO "had assured Pakistan that they would not entertain any such request by New Delhi".

"Owing to its desire to increase influence in Afghanistan, India have expressed its wish vis-à-vis troops deployment in the war-ravaged country", the newspaper said, quoting diplomatic sources.

"However, they said that the United States and NATO have extended firm assurance to Pakistan against the deployment of Indian troops in Afghanistan."

This is a new line of argument for Pakistan that have for long been accusing India of nurturing a strategic aim by opening consulates in Afghanistan.

Its ministers and officials have insinuated the role of "Indian agencies" in the ongoing militancy in Balochistan, besides sectarian riots in Karachi.

For good measure, The News warned India against sending troops on two counts - sending troops would anger the Indian Muslims and that military involvement in Sri Lanka (ostensibly, peacekeeping operations in the late 1980s) proved expensive for India and did not help the Lankan situation in any way.

The News also reminded that Islamabad had made it clear to the US, EU and others involved in peacekeeping in Afghanistan that troops from any country, except India, would be welcomed because of military implications for Pakistan. This has been respected so far.

The News further added that "if this proposal is accepted by New Delhi, Indian troops would take over various duties in the calmer areas of the country and thus release more British and American troops to fight the Taliban in the troubled south and east of the country."