WikiLeaks on India: A list of matters that figure in US confidential cables
Moneylife Digital Team 28 March 2011

Here are some of the issues related to India that crop up in some US Embassy cables and documents released by WikiLeaks and available on The Hindu news website

Here are some of the issues related to India that crop up in US Embassy cables and documents, that have been released by WikiLeaks, and The Hindu news website has put out over the past fortnight.

"Rahul Gandhi has no future, no talent for politics"

According to statements contained in cables released by WikiLeaks recently, accessed and published by The Hindu, Rahul Gandhi is not future prime ministerial material. For, "the heir-apparent of the Gandhi family dynasty," is said to have made a series of political gaffes in 2007, and party insiders were actually waiting for the entry of his sister Priyanka Gandhi into politics. The cable reports a statement by Nachiketa Kapur, a close associate of Satish Sharma, "Congress leader and Gandhi family insider", on 18 April 2007, that Rahul 'has no future, no talent for politics and will never be PM, as he has done nothing for the past three years.'

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26/11 terrorist attacks-Grade I evidence

The dossier New Delhi gave to Islamabad on the JuD chief was drawn from the confessions of the 26/11 accused. On 21 August 2009, India handed over a dossier to Pakistan linking Jamat-ud-Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed to the Mumbai attacks. The dossier is drawn almost entirely from the confession of the surviving gunman, Ajmal Amir Kasab, and statements by Fahim Ansari and Sabahuddin. The three are accused in the 26/11 Mumbai attacks case. National Security Adviser M K Narayanan described the material in the dossier as "Grade-1 evidence."  This implies that the accused should be booked by Pakistan police and extradited to India at the earliest.

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India withholding information from FBI

The CBI had told the FBI team that "they were only sharing 'what we think you need to know'." The Federal Bureau of Investigation thought Indian requests for information on the IC-814 hijacking were "fishing expeditions", but it was concerned India was withholding information that could affect its own prosecution of the case in the United States. The  information the Indian government wanted was listed in two non-papers given to the US Embassy in New Delhi in March and May that year (Cable 29497: confidential, 24 March 2005; 32567: confidential,13 May 2005). The non-papers asked for information relating to the reported seizure of documents about the hijacking by US forces operating in Afghanistan.

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Sonia Gandhi overly reliant on coterie

The Congress, the US Embassy cabled, had evolved an elaborate culture aimed at protecting the Gandhi dynasty. "Mrs Gandhi's inner circle carefully controls her access to information, and inoculates her from criticism, while her carefully scripted public appearances protect her from making gaffes or missteps. This has the advantage of preserving the 'sanctity' of Mrs Gandhi and the dynasty, but can also complicate her efforts to wield power. This system prevents Mrs Gandhi from asserting herself and reduces her charisma, and makes her overly reliant on a selected group, which may not always have her or the party's best interests at heart."  The Gandhis, the cable continued, "remain coy as to which of their many advisors are 'in' and which are 'out', leading to endless speculation, and large numbers of people claiming to be close to the Gandhi family."

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Ministry of External Affairs split over growing India-US ties

An Indian official is said to have spoken of 'two camps' on the Iran uranium enrichment issue. US Embassy officials viewed this as a typical Indian ploy to assert independence, when in fact they were more likely to have been committed "to solid forward movement with the US" on the Indo-US nuclear deal. India was more keen to appease the Left parties in India than to have closer ties with the US.

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India US co-operation weak-kneed in Sri Lanka

India-US military cooperation was excellent in tsunami relief, but concerns varied on rebuilding of Palaly airfield. When US troops arrived in Sri Lanka for relief work in the aftermath of the December 2004 tsunami, alarm bells rang in sections of the Indian establishment, media and the strategic community over possible American 'intrusion' in its backyard. But US diplomatic cables at the time, accessed by The Hindu through WikiLeaks, show that the official thinking in the US favoured utilising its military participation in relief efforts to strengthen "military-to-military" cooperation with other participants in the effort, especially India.

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Send strong signal to Dawood Ibrahim

"We believe the USG [United States government] should send a strong signal of solidarity and zero tolerance by generating a demarche asking the Grand Hyatt in Dubai where the money came from, and how.
''We should also ask the Hyatt corporation in the US how their local franchise could have made such a questionable decision," said a cable from the US Consulate in Mumbai, that has been put out on WikiLeaks. This was put out in the context of the wedding of Dawood Ibrahim's daughter, hosted at the Grand Hyatt in Dubai.

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Naxalite menace in India

According to one of the cables, "Despite India's rapidly expanding economy, Naxalite groups in poor rural areas and their educated urban sympathisers continue to spread and have extended their areas of influence into 12 states, proving they can launch spectacular attacks on government facilities."

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Failure to organise Dalits

"Despite the political success of Dalits such as current Minister for Chemicals and Fertilizers Ram Vilas Paswan, Dalits' failure to organize at the national level has limited their ability to demand equal rights. Until the Indian majority increases pressure to change the status quo, many Dalits will remain trapped below the poverty line in manual labor jobs with few mechanisms for upward mobility," says a separate cable from the US Embassy, also released by Wikileaks.

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P Chidambaram's off-the-cuff remarks on regional development in India

P Chidambaram is said to have told US ambassador Timothy Roemer that India would have registered higher growth rates if the country had comprised only what are now is its southern and western parts. But the home minister praised the chief ministers of Bihar, Orissa and the Punjab, all of them non-Congress leaders. He made these observations when Mr Roemer made an "introductory" call on the minister after arriving in 2009 as successor to David Mulford.

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