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Gen Myers to plead India for troops

July 28, 2003 11:44 IST

The US Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee chairman, General Richard Myers, who will arrive in New Delhi on Monday evening, will put forward Washington's request for Indian troops to keep peace in Iraq.

According to officials, Gen Myers will put forward the US' views on the Indian demand for a UN resolution on peacekeeping in Iraq and the situation after the killing of Saddam Hussein's sons Uday and Qusay. "We expect that to dominate the discussions," an Indian official told rediff.com

The American general will meet his Indian counterpart, navy chief Admiral Madhvendra Singh. Gen Myers is also expected to meet army chief N C Vij and Defence Secretary Ajay Prasad.

On Tuesday morning, he will meet National Security Adviser Brajesh Mishra.

His meeting with Defence Minister George Fernandes is yet to be finalised.

Later, he will fly to Islamabad to discuss with the leaders there deployment of Pakistani troops in Iraq.

The American general's visit comes a few days after he told the US Senate that Washington is trying to persuade India and Pakistan, among others, to send troops to Iraq. He had hinted during the hearing that the US might request North Atlantic Treaty Organisation assistance, if necessary.

The Indian official said the general's visit would not force India to change its stand.

"We have laid down general parameters for sending our soldiers to Iraq. That will have to be met," he said.

The Cabinet Committee on Security had on July 14 rejected the American request, saying it would consider such a deployment only if a UN resolution was passed.

The issue will also be taken up during the meeting of the Indo-US Defence Policy Group in Washington August 4-6.

"It is on the agenda," the official said. The DPG meeting was to be held in New Delhi but was shifted to the US on the latter's request.

Josy Joseph in New Delhi