The dynamics of India-West Asia relations is going through a significant change, with Syria and Iraq requesting India to join the reconstruction work in the two war-ravaged countries. A couple of days after Syrian President Bashar al-Assad urged India to help Damascus in reconstructing its economy, the Iraqi Kurds requested the South Asian nation to step up military assistance.

During his meeting with newly appointed Consul General of India in Erbil (the capital of Kurdistan) Deepak Miglani on Monday, head of the Department of Foreign Relations of the Iraqi autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Falah Mustafa made the appeal, saying that they badly needed military support and humanitarian assistance. He also said that India’s military support could help Kurds win the war against Islamic State (IS).

Mustafa told Miglani that more than 1.8 million refugees required food, medicines and other essentials. These refugees have taken shelter in Kurdistan after fleeing the IS-occupied areas. He also informed the newly appointed Indian consul general about Kurdish armed force Peshmerga’s role in the ongoing fight against the terror outfit, stressing that it has increasingly become difficult for the KRG to bear such a huge burden alone.

Meanwhile, Miglani assured Mustafa that he would convey the latter’s message to New Delhi. The Indian official also said that although he would arrange humanitarian assistance for the Iraqi refugees, it was difficult for him to predict whether New Delhi would agree to supply weapons, ammunition and other military hardware to Peshmerga.

In a separate development, Indian Minister of State for External Affairs M J Akbar arrived in Baghdad on Monday to meet the top Iraqi political leadership. Upon his arrival in the Iraqi capital, Akbar held separate meetings with President Dr Fuad Masum, President of the Council of Representatives Dr Salim al-Jabouri, Foreign Minister Dr Ibrahim Al-Eshaiqer Al-Jaafari and National Security Adviser Faleh al-Fayyadh.

The Indian ministry said in a statement that the visiting minister extended New Delhi’s support for ‘territorial integrity’ of Iraq, apart from promising capacity-building for the war-torn nation. “The two sides acknowledged the grave threat posed by international terrorism and its sponsors to international peace and security. They conveyed strong support to each other in their common fight against the menace of terrorism,” added the statement. Akbar mainly discussed defence, security and counter-terrorism-related issues with the Iraqi leaders and conveyed India’s willingness to partner in the reconstruction of the West Asian country.

Koushik Das, based in the Indian capital of New Delhi, is a senior news editor with more than 15 years of experience. He also runs a blog – Boundless Ocean of Politics. E-Mail: [email protected]