|Indian Army Leaders Mull Non-U.N. Deployments for Troops
By VIVEK RAGHUVANSHI, NEW DELHI, India
In a major decision that could ultimately pave the way for Indian troops to participate in coalition operations in Iraq and elsewhere, Indian army commanders are studying the option of troop deployments that aren?t under the U.N. banner.
Senior army commanders are discussing the option during their annual conference here April 16-20, a senior Defence Ministry official said.
?There is an increase in the involvement of armed forces ? not necessarily under the aegis of the U.N. ? in resolving ongoing conflicts and defusing international tensions,? Defence Minister A.K. Antony said at the opening of the Army Commanders Conference, according to the ministry official.
Currently, nearly 9,000 Indian troops are serving with the United Nations in 10 different missions.
Antony?s remarks suggest that India?s strategic interests extend beyond the South Asian region, the ministry official added.
The Framework for Defence Cooperation Agreement, signed between India and the U.S. in 2005, also mentions discussion of deploying Indian troops abroad with U.S. troops, the ministry official said. Despite requests from Washington, India so far has refused such deployments.