Wednesday, September 17, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



Sending troops to Iraq not in India’s interest

India should not send its troops to Iraq. The US has used the UN to send troops but it did not pay heed to the UN agenda and went ahead with its attack. The result: it is facing tough resistance from the public leading to casualties everyday. The US now wants to use Indian troops so that its troops are safe. The Government of India should not forget that the US has always adopted double standards on terrorism. The US denounces terrorism, but ignores Pakistan’s role in sending mercenaries to India.

What will be the quid pro quo if India agrees to send its troops to Iraq? Will it help India to get its long-standing demand met to end the cross-border terrorism generated and promoted by Pakistan? Will it help India in making Pakistan do everything possible to demolish the infrastructure that is being used in its land to train terrorists? Will it ensure Pakistan to close down the terrorist camps permanently? If answers to all these questions are yes, then India should not hesitate to send troops to Iraq. If not, India should not give it a second thought in rejecting the proposal outright. India should not downgrade its position under pressure.




Notwithstanding India’s decision not to send troops to Iraq, New Delhi is in a dilemma on the issue. Our leadership should take decisions conducive to national interest. Our foreign policy, based on non-alignment, was justified during the Cold War days. But now it is a unipolar world order.

At times, it may be advisable to take clues from one’s foes. Post 9/11, in its national interest, Pakistan smelt the situation and abandoned the company of the Taliban. Consequently, Pakistan gained immensely. It regained the fading US goodwill and got monetary support. To earn its goodwill further, Pakistan has expressed that it is not averse to sending its troops to Iraq. India has entangled itself in the game of “ifs” and “buts”. Mr Robert Blackwill, former US Ambassador to India, has gone to the extent of saying that contributing troops to Iraq by India is “bound to add a different dimension to the Indo-US relations.”

India’s foreign office deserves a pat for keeping a window via the UN open to despatch our troops to Iraq. The US foreign office is not shy of walking even that extra mile. Apart from diplomatic efforts, they are eager to obtain the UN mandate, adequate enough for domestic satisfaction, of other countries to commit their troops in Iraq.

India should not, therefore, act too stiff in its negative approach and yield to the ongoing US persuasion In spite of certain inherent constraints and domestic opposition, it shall be in the overall national interest to send Indian troops to Iraq.

An opportunity should not be lost. A positive decision is bound to accrue dividend in favour of India in the long run. The move will provide additional leverage to India with the US against Pakistan’s proxy war in Jammu and Kashmir.


Obsession for son must go

I appreciate the editorial “Son fixation” (Sept 12). Our Constitution guarantees equal rights to men and women. But the females are being selectively killed even before they are born. The crux of the problem is that we have obsession for male children. It is this attitude that results in female foeticide. This being a social problem can be tackled only by educating the masses against the ill-effects of a disturbed sex ratio.

Under the Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Regulation and Prevention of Misuse) Act, 1994, selection of the sex of the foetus by taking medicines or prenatal diagnostic techniques to detect the sex of the foetus is not permissible and anyone giving medicines for selection of the sex or detecting the sex of the foetus or communication of the sex of foetus will be violating the PNDT Act, 1996 and inviting legal action. According to recent reports, sex ratio in the age group of 0-5 years continues to fall.

After the Supreme Court’s directive to all the states, state appropriate authority and district appropriate authorities have been formed to ensure that the PNDT Act is not violated. However, sex selection by giving medicines and detection of the sex of the foetus continues unabated.

The Indian Medical Association, the media and religious leaders have an important role to play in educating the masses regarding the ill-effects of the sex imbalance on society and the need to end female foeticide. The media should also highlight the authorities’ failure to enforce the PNDT Act in spite of the Supreme Court’s directions.

Dr D.S. JASPAL, Patron, Indian Medical Association (Haryana), Ambala

Stray dog menace

The Tribune has done great service by publishing the views of Mrs Lakshmi Kanta Chawla in a letter to the Local Bodies Minister regarding the menace of stray dogs and pigs in the cities (Sept 12). This problem is acute in villages and not restricted to cities alone. In the villages, stray animals are destroying the standing crops and incurring losses to the already deprived farming community. The government is requested to expedite measures to remove this problem on priority.

M.P.S. RANDHAWA, Dhapai (Kapurthala)

Brutal assault

We are thankful to Ms Tripti Nath for bringing to our notice the news of the brutal assault on Sandeep Pandey (Sept 11). The blows will prove to be proverbial nails in a certain coffin. The memory of a similar assault 75 years ago is still fresh in our minds.

V.C. NANDA, Chandigarh

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