June 17, 2003
INDIAN SOLDIER IN BAGHDAD
'Bhartiya Sainik' (Indian soldier) in Baghdad must appear to be a fascinating idea to the BJP and other members of the Sangh Parivar, especially to Mr. Advani. After all, they were the Caliphs of Baghdad who had played major role in the spread of Islam -the bete-noire of the Sangh Pariwar. The presence of Indian soldier, in the company of the victorious American & British soldier, may compensate them for the sense of humiliation and dejection which they daily feel about the centuries old Muslim invasion of India.
The values of modern civilization i.e. liberty, equality, fraternity and democracy owes their origin to the period of Renaissance in the history of Europe. The rich spiritual legacy of the glorious civilization of ancient Greece was almost buried under the dreary ruins of the Roman Empire and lost in the darkness of Christian superstition. The grand mission of rescuing the invaludable patrimony, and preserving it for the humanity, which eventually enabled the peoples of Europe to emerge from the depressing gloom of the holy middle ages and build the marvellous monument of modern civilisation, belonged to the Sarcens, especially the Abbasids of Baghdad, the longest ruling dynasty in the history of Islam. In this context M.N.Roy, in his book 'Historical Role of Islam'(1939), wrote : "Learning from Muslims, Europe became the leader of modern civilisation. Even today, her best sons are not ashamed of the past indebtedness."
It is ironical that this past indebtedness was repaid recently by the US and British soldiers by burning the Central Library of Baghdad which housed precious ancient and medieval literature ,besides perpetrating other war crimes during the present war on Iraq.
Now the US has requested India to assist it by sending Indian troops to Iraq. It cannot be believed that this offer could have been issued by the US without prior consultation with Indian leaders. Though the ruling alliance appears to be charmed by this offer, they seem to be reluctant to express their wholehearted acceptance in open for fear of the possible public outcry.
After having passed a unanimous resolution in Indian Parliament calling for withdrawal of all foreign troops from Iraq, and keeping in view the clear-cut proof that the present war against Iraq was totally unjust, arbitrary, and was in violations of the international law and international institutions, the Indian government should have straight away replied with a polite but firm 'NO'. But the temptation to be a partner of a Great Power in its 'Crusades' is keeping the ruling Indian alliance spellbound. Hence their efforts to materialise their dreams by building up a national consensus.
The main opposition party, the Congress, is taking shelter under the principle of the 'UN Mandate' i.e. that the troops can be deployed only under the UN Mandate.
However, the issue is not whether the troops should be sent under UN Mandate or without it. The issue is whether in the given situation, the sending of Indian troops is consistent with the principles of peace, justice and international law as well as in accordance with the Indian Constitution. The US had no right to start Iraq war in utter disregard of the UN Charter. Only the Security Council was competent to take a decision with respect to Iraq for any kind of preventive or enforcement action.
Article 51 of the Indian Constitution provides guidelines with respect to the kind of foreign policy to be followed. It states," State shall endeavour to (a) promote international peace and security;(b) maintain just and honourable relations between nations;(c) foster respect for international law and treaty obligations in the dealings of organised people with one another; and (d) encourage settlement of internation disputes by arbitration.
The sending of Indian troops to Iraq will not be in consonance with any of the aforesaid mandates of the Indian Constitution. It will in fact be their betrayel.The strategem of evolving the socalled national consensus, whether under UN Mandate or without it, will be only a ruse to deceive the people. No amount of consensus over the issue can provide legal cover to a totally unjust, immoral and illegal offer. It must be rejected outright.
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