I have found, going through stack exchange questions, a pair of links that speak about the presence.
Those links are: Statistics on the number of divisions during WWII and the deployment of a (mostly Indian) corps in Iraq and Persia.
From those information, a question rose: I understand that the British faced true difficulties in 1941 in the Middle East: fights occured in Syria and Lebanon, Iraq and Persia. Italians were also a threat on the Red Sea, with their Somalian and Ethiopian possessions. But by early 1942, all of thos fights were over and all the dangerous territories had been taken (or taken back for Iraq). So I am wondering why the Persia and Iraq Command still had so many troops under him:
Speaking of numbers, it looked like more soldiers, again mostly Indian, were standing still in Iraq and Persia, performing police duties, while the 8th Army, with only the 13rd and 30th corpses, was desesperate to beat Axis's offensives until El-Alamein. I found several explanations for that:
- The units in Middle East were defending from the possible threats of a German invasion, if Soviets were to be beaten in the Caucasus (which depended of Stalingrad battle)
- Indian units were less trained and experienced than the British, New Zealand, Australian and South African forces fighting in Egypt
But I am not entirely satisfied with those explanations:
- Why didn't the Persia and Iraq Command send its forces to help the Russians in Caucasus, instead of waiting for them to collapse and thus offering the Germans an opportunity to beat two forces separately?
- Why did'nt the Persia and Iraq Command send its forces to help in North Africa? Royal Navy had plain control of the sea from Turkey to Egypt, it could have been easy and fast to transport them back to Middle East if needed? Actually, it had been done already to Greece
- There is an article that wrote that Indian units (namely 2nd, 6th and 12th Indian divisions) were fighting in Middle East in 1941, and later standing still there for police duties. They were already trained and experienced since they had actually fought with success, so the trainin explanation is not correct (not for all units at least)
So the question is: Why did Allied Command maintain passive, especially Indian units in Middle East during the years 1942 and 1943? And is there a reason for those units to have been Indian instead of other Commonwealth nationalities?