US Cable: MEA concerned over special envoy appointment

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The cable, leaked by the whistle-blower website Wikileaks is indexed as 09NEWDELHI29. It was written by US ambassador in Delhi David C Mulford on January 7, 2009 after he met the External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee. It offers the concern that Delhi expressed over the appointment of a special envoy on Pakistan and Afghanistan

Shiv Shankar Menon, Foreign Secretary and Mr. David C. Mulford, US Ambassador to India exchanging the signed Fulbright Agreement in New Delhi on July 4, 2008. PIB Photo by G P Sharma

SUBJECT: MUKHERJEE SHARES CONCERN ABOUT SPECIAL ENVOY IN AMBASSADOR’S FAREWELL CALL

  1. (S) SUMMARY. In Ambassador Mulford’s January 7 farewell call on External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, the Minister said he understood the seriousness of the error in releasing sensitive intelligence from the Mumbai terrorism investigations and pledged that the Ministry would not further disseminate that information. Mukherjee said an agreement on End Use Monitoring (EUM) remained a priority for India early in the new U.S. administration.  He expressed his deep concern about a special envoy with a broad regional mandate that could be interpreted to include Kashmir, and shared his hope that the U.S.-India relationship not be viewed through the lens of regional crises.  In a new development regarding civil nuclear cooperation, Mukherjee revealed that he was exploring whether the government could implement liability protection in the form of the Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage (CSC) “administratively” to circumvent an acrimonious legislative debate in Parliament.

END SUMMARY.

Leaked Intelligence a Serious Problem

  1. (S) In his January 7 farewell call on External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Ambassador Mulford pointed out that the presentation of evidence from the Mumbai terrorism investigations released by the Ministry of External Affairs January 5 contained particularly sensitive information in slide number 45 (and in another form, in the information shared with Pakistan) that had been released without the consent of U.S. intelligence agencies (reftel). Mukherjee understood the seriousness of the error and said he would ensure that the Ministry did not further disseminate that information. He also recommended that Ambassador Mulford meet National Security Advisor M.K. Narayanan.

(Note:  In a later meeting January 7 with Narayanan, the Ambassador made the same points.  Narayanan acknowledged the problem and suggested that respective staffs meet January 8 to resolve the issue. End Note.)

EUM Remains A Priority

  1. (C) Ambassador Mulford lamented the lack of an agreement on End Use Monitoring (EUM), confessing that he did not see why it was so difficult for India to conclude an acceptable agreement. Mukherjee said it remained a priority and expressed his hope that it could get done early in the new U.S. administration.

Concern About A Special Envoy

  1. (C) Mukherjee asked a series of penetrating questions about the incoming U.S. administration, dwelling in particular on the appointment of a special envoy. Mukherjee was deeply concerned about any move toward an envoy with a broad regional mandate that could be interpreted to include Kashmir. Such a broad mandate would be viewed by India as risky and unpredictable, exposing issues of vital concern to India to the discretion of the individual appointed.  A special envoy smacks of interference and would be unacceptable, he said.  Keen for the U.S.-India relationship not to be viewed primarily through the lens of regional crises, Mukherjee said India was content that Vice President-elect Biden not extend his current trip beyond

Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, but that India looked forward one day to welcoming a visit that could showcase the breadth of the bilateral relationship.

Civ Nuke:  Hoping to Implement CSC Without Parliament

  1. (C) Remarking on the Civil Nuclear Cooperation Agreement, Ambassador Mulford pressed Mukherjee on completing the steps necessary to enable full cooperation with U.S. firms, such as implementing liability protection in the form of the Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage (CSC). Mukherjee revealed that he was exploring whether the government could implement the requirements of the CSC “administratively,” rather than bringing the issue before Parliament for legislative changes. He said he was concerned that a Parliamentary debate on the CSC would not be productive, again raising sensitive issues about civil nuclear cooperation with the U.S., such as the reliability of fuel supply assurances.  Mukherjee said he had researched the issue and that it appeared to him it could be done “administratively.”  He said he would consult with legal experts “in the next day or two.”  Mukherjee also said India was ready to sign its IAEA Safeguards Agreement, but gave no specifics on timing.

MULFORD

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