Tuesday, July 29, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

US Gen to plead for troops
Gen Myers meets Naval, Air Force chiefs
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 28
The US Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee Chairman, General Richard B. Myers, who arrived here this evening on a two-day visit is expected to brief Indian military commanders and political leadership about the situation in Iraq.

General Myers, who leaves for Pakistan tomorrow, is also expected to renew Washington’s request to New Delhi to send troops as part of the stabilisation force there.

General Myers had been in Iraq on a short visit before landing here.

General Myers met the Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee, Admiral Madhvendra Singh, and the Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal S. Krishnaswamy. Before these meetings, he was apparently also briefed by the outgoing US Ambassador to India, Mr Robert Blackwill.

General Myers is scheduled to meet National Security Adviser Brajesh Mishra tomorrow and hold talks with the Army Chief, Gen N.C .Vij, and the new Defence Secretary, Mr Ajay Prasad, who is also the Co-chairman of the Indo-US Defence Policy Group (DPG).

Indian officials here said General Myers’ visit at this juncture was crucial as India had rejected the US request for troops to Iraq earlier this month. It could pave the way for India agreeing to sending troops to Iraq at a later date.

Incidentally, his visit comes at a time when a fresh UN resolution on Iraq is on the cards to give a broader mandate to enable more countries to participate in the stabilisation force.

Although this would be the third visit of the chairmen of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee to India, General Myers would be the first topmost US official to visit India just days after it turned down a proposal to send troops to Iraq.

Besides military-to-military interaction, India is likely to ask the USA for an institutional tie-up to enable it to interact with the US Central Command and the Hawaii-based Pacific Command.

Sources here said New Delhi’s request for such a tie-up was logical for India as all operations in Iraq fall under the American Central Command which also oversees US interests in the Gulf, Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan.

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