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WikiLeaks: US asked Pak to present India its anti-terror plan

Last updated on: December 3, 2010 08:42 IST

WikiLeaks: US asked Pak to present India its anti-terror plan

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Powerful United States Senator John Kerry asked Pakistan Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani to present before India Pakistan's plan of action for fighting terrorism if it was "really serious" in resuming Indo-Pak dialogue, but the premier expressed concern that the public would not support the idea.

Details of the meeting between Kerry, chairman of the US senate foreign relations committee, and Gilani on February 16 have been communicated in a confidential cable from the US embassy in Islamabad, which was leaked by WikiLeaks. During the meeting, Kerry said that in light of the February 13 bombings in Pune, politicians in India were focused on counter-terrorism. "And as such he suggested that Pakistan present the Indian government with its plan to tackle terrorism," the cable said.

Kerry told Gilani that this would be a clear "confidence builder" that would make India more willing to move forward in talks about Kashmir and water disputes. He emphasised that the future of India, Pakistan and the US depended on their governments' willingness to "challenge old suspicions" and work together and suggested that Pakistan and India sign a non-aggression pact.

Kerry said that the US and other countries of goodwill would be prepared to help in any way possible.

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Pak's public will not support counter-terror plan: Gilani

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According to the cable, Gilani agreed to present Kerry's proposal to the Pakistani leadership. "He was amenable to the idea of a rapprochement in the India-Pakistan relations, but expressed concern that the public would not support the idea," the cable said.

"Kerry said that in order to gain public support for this initiative, the government of Pakistan needed to clearly outline the long-term economic benefits of improved bilateral relations, such as improvements in social development and increased investments and trade, to the Pakistani people," American envoy in Islamabad Ann Patterson said in a cable to Washington in 2009.

Gilani indicated that Pakistan was willing to resume talks with the Indian government and pointed to the February 25 meeting between foreign secretaries of India and Pakistan as evidence of such. "He added that Pakistan and India had also resumed back channel discussions.

Gilani said that improving bilateral relations with India was in Pakistan's best interest as it would enable the Pakistani government to focus all of its attention on securing its western border," the cable said.

 


Photographs: Mohsin Raza/Reuters
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US needs to treat India, Pak as equals: Gilani

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Gilani noted that in order to gain public support for this process, the US had to "treat India and Pakistan equally." He added that India would need to gain Pakistan's trust and indicated that reducing the Indian footprint in Afghanistan and halting Indian support of militants in Balochistan would be steps in the right direction, the cable noted.

Kerry said that the foreign secretaries meeting had "enormous potential" and urged Pakistan not to allow pressure from the local media and the masses to "derail these efforts."

He argued that dialogue with India was an opportunity to "create new security arrangements that could change the regional dynamics".



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Zardari's worst fear: India has 4,700 tanks, Pak only 2,600

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While assuring Gilani that the effort would not be US-driven, Kerry indicated that America was open to the idea of serving as a mediator to help facilitate the resumption of the Pakistan-India Composite Dialogue.

On the same day, Kerry met Pakistan president Asif Ali Zardari asked him to reach an agreement with India on counter terrorism, but he did not appear to be forthcoming and instead lodged an usual complaint that New Delhi has increased its military budget.

When Kerry pointed out the Chinese threat to India, Zardari responded that Indian tanks cannot operate in the Chinese border region and could only be intended for an attack on Pakistan. India has 4,700 tanks, he explained, while Pakistan has only 2,600. "Capability creates a fear," the Pakistan president added, the cable said.

According to the cable, Kerry said Zardari should put his concerns on the negotiating table, as there was a real opportunity for productive conversation between India and Pakistan now. "You could arrive at a surprising consensus of mutual understanding," he said.

Zardari conceded that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh deserved respect, but said he was not confident about the rest of the Indian government, the US ambassador wrote.

Image: Zardari's biggest complaint is that India has increased its military budget
Photographs: Krishnendu Halder/Reuters
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Tell Pak to act strongly against 26/11 perpetrators: Envoy told US

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The American ambassador in Pakistan also said that Washington must tell Pakistan in no uncertain terms that it should stop all its support to Lashkar-e-Tayiba, needs to take strong action against those responsible for 26/11, and shift its army's focus from India.

Patterson's letter came days ahead of Pakistan foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi's visit to Washington in 2009 to meet US special envoy for Af-Pak and his team, secret documents released by WikiLeaks show.


Image: The Taj Hotel burns during the 26/11 attacks

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Pakistan's greatest threat: Militancy on Af-Pak border

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Zardari and Gilani recognise Pakistan's greatest threat has shifted from India to militancy concentrated on the Pak-Afghan border that is spreading to North-West Frontier Province and beyond, said the February 21, 2009 US embassy cable signed off by Patterson.

"The Army and ISI, however, have not turned that corner. We should press the Grand Old Party (traditional nickname of the Republican party in US) on the need to stop using militant or tribal proxies as foreign policy tools," she wrote.

"It is now counterproductive to Pakistan's own interests and directly conflicts with United States government's objectives in Afghanistan -- where Haqqani's network is killing American soldiers and Afghan civilians -- and the region -- where Mumbai exposed the fruits of previous ISI policy to create the LeT and still threatens potential conflict between nuclear powers," Patterson said.

"However, we should preface this conversation with a pledge to open a new page in relations. Pakistan's chief of army staff General Kayani, who headed ISI from 2004-2007, in particular wants to avoid a reckoning with the past, and we will not shift Pakistani military or ISI policy without his support," she cautioned.

Image: Terrorist activity on the North West Frontier Province is a matter of growing concern for Gilani
Photographs: Shahid Afridi/Reuters
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Pak's civilian and military leadership pro-India: WikiLeaks

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The US ambassador said the present civilian and military leadership in Pakistan is the most pro-Indian dispensation that New Delhi can hope to see, though this still cannot be said about the Inter-Services Intelligence.

"Pakistan's principal strategic focus remains fixated on India, Afghanistan as strategic depth in the fight against India, and the core Kashmir issue.However, the current civilian and military leadership is the most pro-Indian that New Delhi is likely to see, and we should not allow Mumbai to derail rapprochement," said Patterson in her letter to Washington, WikiLeaks revealed.

According to her, both sides should resume the composite dialogue, re-establish back-channel negotiations, and increase trade across both the Wagah border and the Line of Control. "This presumes that Pakistan, with continued USG pressure, proceeds with prosecution of the Mumbai suspects," she wrote.

Image: Gilani with Pakistani army chief Ashfaq Parvez Kayani
Photographs: Asim Tanveer/Reuters
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Pak should stop supporting LeT terrorists in Valley: US envoy

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Pakistan also needs more clearly to shut down its support for LeT militancy in Kashmir," Patterson said.

Qureshi, she wrote, will want to hear a commitment from the US administration to press the Indians to respond to the Pakistan government's list of follow-up questions on the Mumbai investigation.

"We should encourage Islamabad to send, and New Delhi to receive, a Pakistani police investigatory team to collect evidence in support of successful Mumbai prosecutions," the US ambassador said, according to the cable.

Image: The Indian government has said that anti-national forces in Kashmir were linked to the LeT

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