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Cablegate: Menon Seeks Indo-Bangla Counter-Terror Effort

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OO RUEHAST RUEHBI RUEHCI RUEHLH RUEHPW
DE RUEHNE #2003/01 2031221
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 211221Z JUL 08
FM AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2713
INFO RUCNCLS/ALL SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA COLLECTIVE
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 6950
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 5090
RUEHMO/AMEMBASSY MOSCOW 2717
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 1354
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 5704
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RUEIDN/DNI WASHINGTON DC
RHHMUNA/HQ USPACOM HONOLULU HI
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 6676
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 7811
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC
RUMICEA/USCENTCOM INTEL CEN MACDILL AFB FL

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 NEW DELHI 002003

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR SCA/INS, DRL

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PHUM PREL PTER PINR KDEM BG IN
SUBJECT: MENON SEEKS INDO-BANGLA COUNTER-TERROR EFFORT

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: Bangladeshi Foreign Minister Mohd Touhid
Hossain met with Indian Foreign Minister Shivshankar Menon
during his July 17 visit to New Delhi. During a joint press
conference, both expressed interest in addressing security
issues, specifically cross-border terrorism and escalating
violence in Northeast India. Both ministers also announced
that pressing political and security issues would be raised
at the Home Secretary-level when talks reconvene later this
year. Neither side presented specific details, but the
meeting appeared to signal progress for bilateral Indo-Bangla
relations. Bangladesh's handover of four alleged insurgents
just prior to the talks may be one indication that they are
having an effect. END SUMMARY.


Security Challenges Discussed
------

2. (U) Bangladeshi Foreign Minister Mohd Touhid Hossain
discussed a full range of bilateral issues with Indian
Foreign Minister Shivshankar Menon during his visit to New
Delhi on July 17. As reported in the Indian press, Hossain
and Menon announced joint efforts to face impending political
and security challenges -- including on-going Naxalite-led
violence in India,s northeast, Indo-Bangla cross-border
terrorism, and ethno-linguistic insurgency groups --
reiterating that terrorism is a great threat and challenge to
the democratic systems of both countries.


Menon Calls for Bangla Security Cooperation
------

3. (U) During a joint press conference with Hossain on July
17, Menon called for result-oriented talks on pressing
security issues with Bangladesh. Menon sought Hosssian,s
cooperation in tracking down suspects involved in several
terrorist attacks, including the July 2006 serial train
explosions in Mumbai. Perpetrators of the attack are
believed to have links with Bangladesh-based insurgency group
Harkat-ul-Jehad-e-Islami (HUJI). Both ministers emphasized
that the security of both countries is inter-linked and that
more specific counter-terrorism issues will be discussed at
the Home Secretary-level later this year. Other aspects of
the bilateral relationship were discussed, including economic
and commercial cooperation and water access.

4. (U) This follows successful bilateral efforts on July
12 to apprehend four Indian alleged insurgents in the
Indo-Bangla border region, including three militants from the
extremist National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) group
and one smuggler, which was the first official recognition by
Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) of Indian insurgency pressence in
Bangladesh territory. The NDFB militants were arrested by
Bangladeshi authorities in 2006 after crossing the border to
undergo militant training along the Meghalaya border
district, according to Indian press, and were extradited July
12 after months of close coordination between BDF and Indian
Border Security Force (BSF). Indian press reports have
raised hopes that greater bilateral security cooperation will
lead to the deportation of jailed Indian militant Anup
Chetia, General Secretary of the radical United Liberation
Front of Assam (ULFA).


Comment: Strengthening the Bilateral Relationship
------

5. (SBU) Comment: While failing to reach concrete results
on important bilateral issues, Hossain,s visit was seen here
as an effort on part of the Bangladesh Government to forge
closer diplomatic relations with India. Bilateral relations,
specifically joint counter-terrorism initiatives, are
expected to progress further at the Home Secretary-level when
both countries reconvene talks. END COMMENT.

NEW DELHI 00002003 002 OF 002


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