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Cablegate: Mumbai Terror Attacks: Mukherjee-Zardari Call Did Not Take Place

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O 041138Z DEC 08
FM AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4527
INFO RUCNCLS/ALL SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA COLLECTIVE
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RUEHUNV/USMISSION UNVIE VIENNA 1694
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 7281

C O N F I D E N T I A L NEW DELHI 003062

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/29/2018
TAGS: PREL PGOV PTER IN KCRM

SUBJECT: MUMBAI TERROR ATTACKS: MUKHERJEE-ZARDARI CALL DID NOT TAKE PLACE

REF: A. NEW DELHI 3037
B. NEW DELHI 3024

Classified By: Ambassador David Mulford for Reasons 1.4 (B and D)

1. (C) Post now believes that Indian External Affairs
Minister Pranab Mukherjee did not in fact phone Pakistan
President Asif Ali Zardari November 28 despite conflicting
reports from the Indian Government. Ministry of External
Affairs Joint Secretary (Americas) Gaitri Kumar had
originally told PolCouns December 1 that the call did take
place. However, National Security Advisor Narayanan told the
Ambassador later on December 1 that no such call took place,
and that he would have known if it had (ref A).

2. (C) To clear up the confusion, J/S Kumar shared with
PolCouns December 3 a version of events that Post assesses to
be factually correct and consistent with what Narayanan told
Ambassador Mulford, a November 28 MEA press release, and
Mukherjee's own account to Secretary Rice in their meeting
December 3 (septel). Kumar shared that Mukherjee had last
spoken directly with Zardari in an informal setting during
his May visit to Islamabad, before Zardari was elected
President, adding that he had ""never"" spoken with Zardari by
phone. Since then, Mukherjee had only spoken to his
counterpart, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi. Qureshi
was in India when the Mumbai attacks began, but departed
early without completing his program. Mukherjee then spoke
to Qureshi -- not Zardari -- by phone the evening of November
28. According to Kumar, Mukherjee did not convey any
threats, but rather read the talking points shared with the
Ambassador by Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon on November
29 (ref B). When asked by media about the conversation,
Qureshi reportedly confirmed that no threats were issued.
Kumar gave no explanation for the discrepancy between this
report and her report on December 1. (Note: Post suspects
she incorrectly inferred that a Mukherjee-Zardari call took
place from the fact that Mukherjee's office had, as a
precaution, prepared points for him to use if Zardari were to
phone Prime Minister Singh when he was unavailable, leaving
Mukherjee to receive the call. End Note.)

MULFORD

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