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No question of sending troops to Afghanistan: Left

Written by: Staff
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New Delhi, May 3: Left parties today strongly opposed Britain's advisory to India to send troops to Afghanistan, stating that Prime Minister Tony Blair had no right to dictate to New Delhi on its foriegn policy matters.

''We reiterate that the UPA government should actively work for resolving the crisis in Afghanistan before committing or sending even non-military personnel,'' the CPI, CPI(M) and Forward Bloc told UNI.

The Left leaders also asked the Manmohan Singh government to urgently initiate diplomatic measures to ensure that India's stake in the 22 billion US dollars LNG India-Pakistan-Iran deal remained intact.

Great Britain has reportedly proposed to India to contribute troops for International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan and do justice to its own increased role and strategic requirements in the land-locked country.

India-Iran energy deal has also come under a cloud following Iran's Deputy Oil and International Affairs Minister Mohammad Hadi Nejad-Hosseinian having said there is dispute between India and Iran as the deal was yet to be ratified by the Supreme Economic Council.

CPI leaders A B Bardhan and Shamim Faizi said, ''The embattled Prime Minister of Britain has no credibility to send an advisory to New Delhi on its relations with other countries. India is committed to restoring peace and normal conditions in Afghanistan.'' The Left was also against ''occupying'' Afghanistan by sending foreign troops there including that of the US and Britain, the CPI leaders added.

CPI(M) Polit Bureau member M K Pandhe said there is no quesiton of India sending its troops to Afghanistan as it will further ''create problems for us.'' Besides, the Indian troops would have to work along with those of the US and the British, which was not ''acceptable to us''.

Forward Bloc National Secretary G Devrajan, endorsing the CPI and CPI((M) leaders point of view, said, the question did not arise of sending Indian troops as Britain had no right to dictate to us on foreign policy matters.'' The Congress-led coalition, should also take certain steps to ensure the security of all the engineers, technicians and workers in Afghanistan".

People to people contact should also be strengthened. ''On the India-Iran energy deals coming under cloud, Mr Bardhan and Mr Faizi held that the UPA government should realise to what extent its ''arbitrary decisions under the US pressure can affect the nation.''

The changed Iranian attitude might have been a repercussion of our anti-Iran vote about which the Left had always been warning the government, they added. Mr Pandhe said the Congress-led coalition should have thought about this possibility much before. ''Even now we should persuade this project as this of great benefit to the country.'' Dr Devrajan said from the beginning the US was pressurising India to drop the project despite the fact that there was a political consensus in favour of the project in India.

''Now the latest development suggests that the Manmohan Singh government seems to have bowed down to the US pressure. Our government is wholly responsbile for this eventuality.'' he added.

UNI

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