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What India told US about Pakistan Army in 2009

Last updated on: December 1, 2010 11:14 IST

What India told US about Pakistan Army in 2009

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Conveying India's view on its neighbourhood to the United States, a top Indian official had told US' Af-Pak envoy in 2009 that most of the problems in Pakistan can be traced to its military's intentions and informed him that post 26/11 India had consciously not attempted to take any measures that would destabilise the civilian government there.

In his meeting with Richard Holbrooke on February 16, 2009 in New Delhi, the then Foreign Secretary Shiv Shankar Menon also thanked the Special Representative for US' role in pressing Pakistan to act on India's dossier on Mumbai attacks and said that it was "remarkable that we got this far".

"Turning to Pakistan, Menon observed that the mood there had deteriorated over the past year, saying it had gone from euphoria after the return of a civilian government to worries over security and the economy," says a secret US diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks.

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Image: File photo shows Holbrooke with SS Menon in New Delhi

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The US has influence, however, "where it matters most," Menon, now the National Security Advisor, said referring to the Pakistan Army, arguing that "most of the problems in Pakistan can be traced to the capacity and intentions of Pakistan's military," it said reporting on the meeting.

"Not only must Pakistan's army shift its attention from east to west, Menon asserted, but it must also cut its links to jihadi organisations, who have gone global over the past five years.

"Supporting Pakistan's army is not the answer, he said, suggesting that changing its operating assumptions would be more effective," it said.

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Menon also pointed out that in the wake of the Mumbai terrorist attacks, India had consciously not attempted to take any measures to destabilise Pakistan's civilian government, and had made every effort to continue trade and travel ties.

However, he said, Pakistan's Army continued to make things difficult for India, through ceasefire violations, infiltrations and continued support for terrorist groups.

"Menon noted that India, in the wake of the Mumbai attacks, had consciously not built up troops on the border with Pakistan, as it had following the 2001 attack on its Parliament," it said.

Offered an initial Indian assessment of the Pakistani response to India's dossier on the Mumbai terror attacks, Menon thanked the US for its role in pressing Pakistan to act and said that it was "remarkable that we got this far".

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Still, Menon maintained, Pakistan has further to go to bring justice to the perpetrators of the attack, and it is not clear whether it will continue on this positive track or, citing the Daniel Pearl case, recede when public pressure wanes, the cable said.

"Menon also speculated that many of the '30 questions' submitted by Pakistan were added after the investigation by politicians in response to domestic pressures," the cable said.

"We haven't reached the point of no return yet" for Pakistan's government to positively conclude the investigation, Menon stated.

Menon also offered that he did not believe the Mumbai attacks themselves would play a major role in India's upcoming elections, because efforts to capitalise politically on such a heinous event would likely backfire on any political party, the cable said.

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On Afghanistan, Menon asked if the US was considering including Iran in a Core Group on Afghanistan.

"Holbrooke referred to his interview with Tolo TV where he emphasised the need for all of Afghanistan's neighbours to be part of the solution, but said no policy decisions had been made".

Menon said he believed a contact group did not have to be formally set up yet, but rather if we "let it cook," it would form itself.

"Menon noted the interest China has had in such a group for the past two years, and added that Iran has been signalling to India for the last four months that it was interested," the cable said.

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