Cablegate: Menon Says India to Decide On Information-Sharing with Pakistan, Opposed to Special Envoy
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C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 NEW DELHI 003267
E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/31/2018
TAGS: PREL PGOV PTER MOPS PK IN
SUBJECT: MENON SAYS INDIA TO DECIDE ON INFORMATION-SHARING WITH PAKISTAN, OPPOSED TO SPECIAL ENVOY
REF: A. NEW DELHI 03265 B. NEW DELHI 3251 C. FBI CABLE //1317/01495/365/006 D. NEW DELHI 3249
Classified By: Ambassador David Mulford for Reasons 1.4 (B and D)
1. (C) SUMMARY. Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon told Ambassador Mulford December 31 that the Indian government would make a decision later in the day on whether and how much information from the Mumbai terrorist attack investigations to share with Pakistan and other countries. Menon emphasized that India had been tough on Pakistan with regard to accountability, but restrained in its rhetoric and actions. He explained that India opposes a special envoy with a mandate that includes Kashmir. Finally, Menon said India is ready to sign its IAEA Safeguards Agreement and is waiting for the IAEA to commence negotiation on an Additional Protocol, perhaps in late January. Counter-terrorism will be the top issue on India's agenda with the new government in Bangladesh once it has settled in. A focused discussion on End Use Monitoring (EUM) is reported ref A. END SUMMARY.
India to Decide on Information-Sharing with Pakistan
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3. (C) In response to Ambassador Mulford's review of his December 30 meeting with Home Minister Chidambaram (ref B), Menon said the Indian government would meet later in the day to "make the call" about whether to share information from the Mumbai terrorist attack investigations with Pakistan and, if so, to determine what evidence in particular to share. Menon characterized this as "a big step" and pledged to coordinate with the U.S. on what information they share with Pakistan. He cautioned, however, that it is far too early to refer to any information-sharing with the U.S. and Pakistan as a "three-way" mechanism. He said the government would also decide what evidence to share with "the rest of the world," implying that the information the Indians release to other countries whose citizens were victims of the Mumbai attacks would not be as comprehensive as what they are willing to share with the U.S. and UK.
4. (C) The Indian government was also "very keen to get cooperation going" with the U.S. pursuant to the FBI investigation into the death of American citizens in Mumbai, according to Menon, and would also make a decision at the same meeting later in the day on the FBI's request to share parts of its findings on Mumbai with Pakistan (ref C). Menon requested further information about the specific legal requirement and process the FBI follows in response to the death of American citizens in terrorist attacks overseas. (The Ambassador subsequently provided a non-paper prepared by LegAtt, which has also been emailed to SCA.)
Indo-Pak: Menon Emphasizes The Dogs That Did Not Bark
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5. (C) Ambassador Mulford reiterated the U.S. hope that India and Pakistan will tamp down war rhetoric, suggesting that India had every right to be tough on Pakistan with regard to accountability while remaining restrained in its rhetoric and actions. Menon agreed, adding, "Please be sure to remind all those who accuse us of stirring things up of all the dogs that have not barked in the night, the whole series of things that could have happened." Menon said India could "weather accusations of going soft on Pakistan," but added, "the pressures will be extraordinary if they end up doing nothing." He confided, "Chances are Pakistan will not do much, but we have to try."
India Opposed to Special Envoy for Kashmir
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6. (C) Menon had spoken with Under Secretary Bill Burns the evening of December 30 and expressed India's "extreme
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sensitivity" on the issue of a special envoy with a mandate to address the dispute with Pakistan over Kashmir. According to Menon, Indians are concerned about the possibility of a "narrow" deal in which the U.S. would tell Pakistan the Mumbai terrorist attacks will not "stick on you" as long as "you keep fighting in the West." Menon confided that India needed to work to "update perceptions" because the concept of such a deal could only have originated from those with "out-dated views of the reality in Kashmir."
7. (C) Menon agreed that the Kashmir elections showed that the people of Kashmir are managing their own destiny through the ballot box (ref D). Menon shared that "we had come close to resolving the Kashmir dispute with (former Pakistan president) Musharraf, and it would be a tragedy to throw all that progress away." He concluded that a special envoy would be deeply unpopular and could negatively affect the gains in our bilateral relationship made over the past eight years. Menon observed that "we have not heard a peep" from critics of a closer relationship with the U.S. about cooperation with the FBI following the Mumbai attacks, but added, "Kashmir is different; we do not want to feed the notion that the U.S. is messing about in Kashmir, especially in the next four months" in the lead-up to national elections.
Civ Nuke: Ready to Sign Safeguards, Waiting for IAEA
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8. (C) The Indian government is "ready" to sign its IAEA Safeguards Agreement and to begin negotiating an Additional Protocol, according to Menon, but is "waiting on the IAEA." Menon said the IAEA indicated it would not be ready to begin negotiating an Additional Protocol until late January at the earliest. Menon seemed unsure of progress on the Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage (CSC). He said its "last step" was with the Law Ministry, but then recalled that the Law Ministry had signed off on it. He concluded, "I still have to push it."
Bangladesh: Counter-terrorism Top Priority
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9. (C) Asked about the Bangladesh elections and the prospect for counter-terrism cooperation, Menon said he would give the new government time to settle in. He said India "has a package ready for them, and counter-terrorism is the number one issue on our agenda."