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Decision on troops depends on public opinion: India

T V Parasuram in New York | September 22, 2003 10:11 IST

Ahead of Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's crucial meeting with US President George W Bush on Wednesday, India has made it clear that the question of sending troops to Iraq is dependent on it being seen as a common UN concern, the request coming from the Iraqis themselves and the public opinion back home.

Also see: Complete coverage of prime minister's visit

"Sending of troops to Iraq will be acceptable to the people at large in India only if it is seen as clearly responding to a common concern in the UN," said Vijay Nambiar, the country's permanent representative at the UN.

India, he acknowledged, is one of the countries the US is anxious to see contributing troops. But New Delhi has pointed that the request can be considered only in the context of the Indian public opinion and the context of the overall political process which will result in the eventual restoration of sovereignty to the people of Iraq, he said at a briefing of Indian correspondents.

Vajpayee will become the first Indian leader to address the UN for five consecutive years when he speaks before the general assembly next week.
Nambiar pointed out that the prime minister's visit this time assumes significance as the relevance of the world body has come under the scanner.

"This time the relevance of the organisation is itself being questioned and the Secretary General Kofi Annan himself has raised these questions very directly," he said.


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