India to keep existing troops in UNIFIL for 'time being'
New Delhi, Aug 29 (ZEENEWS.COM) India proposes to keep for the "time being" its existing troops in the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) but would not add any more forces to it, official sources said on Monday.
"As of now, the existing Indian troops in UNIFIL will be there for the time being. But there will be no addition to the existing forces," they said when asked about New Delhi's position in view of the change of mandate for UNIFIL.
A feeling is growing here that the role of the 2000-men strong UNIFIL, which includes 672 Indian troops, is more of "peace enforcer" than that of peacekeeper in view of alteration of its mandate on August 11.
The sources said the aims, objectives and rules of engagement of the un force were unclear. "We are also not clear about the equation UNIFIL will have with the Israeli forces, the Lebanese Army and the Hezbollah militants," they said, indicating that India did not want its forces to get involved in military operations.
It is being apprehended that the un force may be faced with difficult challenges in future in view of the amendment of its mandate and that it may not be worthwhile to unnecessarily expose Indian troops to more risks, they said.
The rethinking has been prompted by a clause in the fresh mandate of the UN Security Council for the UNIFIL, which states that the force "will take all necessary action in areas of deployment of its forces and as it deems within its capabilities, to ensure that its area of operations is not utilised for hostile activities of any kind".