The statement by the National Security Advisor of the United States of America regarding the role India could play in combating the ISIS is significant. The statement comes months after India had refused to partner with the US in battling the ISIS especially in Iraq. [Follow updates of President Obama's visit to India]
Rhodes' statement makes it clear that India could engage with the US on the battle against the ISIS without deploying troops on the ground.
Indo-US against the ISIS:
The decision that India and US took to fight the ISIS is part of the broader intelligence sharing agreement. The US said it is serious about the battle it is waging against both the ISIS and the Al-Qaeda in the Arab Peninsula.
The ISIS in particular has been getting a lot of recruits from across the globe including the sub-continent. The US would depend on India for intelligence regarding recruits from the sub-continent which would help them curb their movement into Syria and Iraq.
The US also feels that India could provide vital information on the movement of funds especially from sympathetic nations such as Pakistan. All this information would be vital.
What does India gain:
India is having its fair share of problems with the ISIS and also the Al-Qaeda in the Sub-Continent. India is aware that in the months to come there would be a power struggle in Afghanistan and there is a chance of forces from terror groups building up.
The Al-Qaeda in the Arab Peninsula which is strong at Yemen would try and push in troops to boost the Al-Qaeda in the sub-continent. Moreover there is also a likelihood of the ISIS trying to break ground ibn Afghanistan.
These are issues that will concern India a great deal as it attempts to play a larger role in Afghanistan in a bid to bring peace and stability in the region. On this front cooperation with the US will go a long way.
Another problem that India faces is regarding some youth trying to sneak out of the country and join the ISIS. Most of these recruitments take place online and handlers use servers based out of India. With the kind of tracking services the US deploys India would get intelligence in real time which would help such recruitments.
No deployment of forces:
However India would strictly avoid any sort of deployment in Iraq and Syria to fight the ISIS. When Prime Minister Narendra Modi had visited the US he was told to join the coalition, but he had politely refused.
India has its own share of problems and moreover any direct engagement on this front against the ISIS could prove to be counter productive. There is a good chance of several youth who are radicalised deciding to leave India and fight the coalition and hence a direct engagement by India is best avoided.