Obama may ask India to join fight against IS

Updated - November 16, 2021 05:47 pm IST

Published - September 24, 2014 11:52 am IST - Washington

U.S. President Barack Obama

U.S. President Barack Obama

As Washington completes a round of airstrikes on the Islamic State (IS) of Iraq and Syria, U.S President Barack Obama on Wednesday garnered more support for the coalition at the United Nations.

On Monday, PTI quoted U.S. officials as saying that Mr. Obama will ask Prime Minister Narendra Modi to join the 40 countries that have offered support.

Delhi may share intelligence in fight against IS

In the event of Washington seeking closer cooperation with India in its campaign against the Islamic State (IS) in Iraq and Syria, during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s meeting with President Barack Obama, New Delhi has three possible options.

At present, officials say the cooperation extends to exchanging notes on IS propaganda and is limited to information-sharing. “It is an area of cooperation as of now,” confirmed Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin, who called working with the U.S. on IS “a major issue of focus during the Obama-Modi meeting, we look forward to enhancing that cooperation.”

But the government’s advisers, like Chairman of the National Security Advisory Board Shyam Saran, feel it will be difficult for India to do more than extend moral support to the coalition.

“The U.S. hasn’t had a great track record in fighting the IS itself, and India will have to look closely at what kind of cooperation they require before committing,” he said at the Brookings Institute in Delhi last week.

The first option, however, would be to help with ground intelligence and with blocking IS attempts to enlist Muslims in the two countries. Mr. Modi and Mr. Obama are likely to announce enhanced and more real-time sharing of intelligence about the IS, that would also involve information about the fate of the 40 Indians kidnapped in Mosul four months ago. The release of 49 Turkish hostages this week, who had been held by the IS for 101 days, has raised questions about India’s efforts to free its men caught in the conflict.

Logistics help

The second would be logistical support for the airplanes carrying out the attacks. At present, the U.S. would have little need for this, given that Iraq and neighbouring countries like Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Jordan are part of the airstrikes, and the U.S. is launching some of them from its own aircraft carriers stationed off the Gulf.

In 1991, during Gulf War I, then Prime Minister Chandra Shekhar had come under much criticism for allowing U.S. bombers to refuel at Mumbai’s Sahar airport on their way into Iraq. Even so, India could offer a similar sort of assistance, which would perhaps find more takers today, given that the target is a terrorist group, not a functioning government.

The third, that of any kind of Indian troop involvement on the ground, is ruled out by all concerned. To begin with, the Iraqi government has made it clear it wants no “foreign boots” on the ground. “We don’t want them. We won’t allow them,” Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi told AP.

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.