ID: 168776 9/6/2008 5:37 08NEWDELHI2401 Embassy New Delhi CONFIDENTIAL "VZCZCXRO6812 OO RUEHBI RUEHCI RUEHLH RUEHPW DE RUEHNE #2401/01 2500537 ZNY CCCCC ZZH O 060537Z SEP 08 FM AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3285 INFO RUCNCLS/ALL SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA COLLECTIVE RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 7018 RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 5242 RUEHMO/AMEMBASSY MOSCOW 2790 RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 1387 RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 5780 RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC RUEIDN/DNI WASHINGTON DC RHHMUNA/HQ USPACOM HONOLULU HI RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 6870 RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 7874 RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC RUMICEA/USCENTCOM INTEL CEN MACDILL AFB FL" "C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 NEW DELHI 002401
DEPARTMENT FOR SCA/INS, SCA/PB
E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/25/2017 TAGS: PREL, PGOV, PINR, PK, IN SUBJECT: GOI OFFICIALS TELL AMBASSADOR PATTERSON POLITICAL PROGRESS CONTINGENT ON CT PROGRESS
Classified By: Political Counselor Ted Osius for reasons 1.4(B and D)
1. (C) SUMMARY: Deputy National Security Advisor Leela Ponappa and Joint Secretary (Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran) T.C.A. Raghavan, in separate meetings with visiting Ambassador Patterson, indicated that the GOI is seized from top to bottom with the unrest in Jammu and Kashmir, but is confident that it has the structures in place to address the situation. The Pakistani infrastructure facilitating infiltration and terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir remains intact. Extremist groups active in Jammu and Kashmir are becoming indistinguishable from those operating in the northwest of Pakistan and pose a regional threat. The GOI is ready to continue dialogue with the GOP but the Kabul embassy bombing and Pakistan's support for cross border terrorism is making it difficult for India to sustain its commitment to normalization of relations. In private meetings, the GOP has acknowledged the gravity of the Kabul attack and promised a report. The political drama in Pakistan is drawing attention from the Line of Control. Raghavan and Ponappa said that people-to-people contact between the countries is thriving but there are zero military-to-military exchanges. Raghavan reported little progress on the Siachen dispute. END SUMMARY.
India ready to talk, but Pakistan must address terrorism ----------------------- 2.(C) In visiting Ambassador Anne Patterson's separate August 27th meetings with GOI Deputy National Security Advisor Leela Ponappa and Joint Secretary (Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iran) T.C.A. Raghavan, both interlocutors expressed the GOI's willingness to work with the new GOP. Ponappa said that “anything positive from them would be well received.” Asked about President Musharraf's exit, Ponappa replied, “We deal with whomever is there. We've seen this before, it's a pattern, you can almost graph it,” but pointed out that Pakistanis can take justifiable pride that this change of power took place through the constitutional process. Raghavan said of Musharraf, “His time had run out. He could never consistently follow a policy to make an impact domestically.” Raghavan stated that the 4th round of Composite Dialogue “left a good feeling” which led to the positive beginning to the 5th round. In his view, there remains a strong consensus in both countries to normalize relations. He reported that Foreign Secretary Menon communicated to Foreign Minister Qureshi that the Kabul blast and spikes in incidents along the LOC will have to be addressed, and got a positive response. Asked for more detail about PM Singh's meeting with PM Gilani in Colombo on August 2, Raghavan replied that there is political consensus on normalization but PM Singh, while personally committed, can not sustain normalization in the face of terror attacks.
Kabul embassy bombing “soured everybody on Pakistan” ---------------------- 3.(C) Raghavan appreciated prior information from the USG and the Afghan government on the specific threat to its Embassy in Kabul. He told Ambassador Patterson that if it were not for these tips, the barriers at the Indian Embassy in Kabul would not have been constructed before the attack and casualties would have been far worse. He said, “The Kabul attack soured everyone on Pakistan.” He reported that the last round of the Composite Dialogue was dominated by discussion of terrorism and that the GOI made it clear that such violence is unacceptable and will damage Indo-Pak relations. On GOP complicity in the Kabul attack, he said, “we can't tell at what level decisions are happening, but our own sense is something like this wouldn't happen on its own.” He confirmed that it appears the Haqqani network implemented the attack. He said in private meetings Pakistan accepts the gravity of the bombing. Raghavan reported that Gilani did promise PM Singh a report on the Kabul attack. He added that the Composite Dialogue was fruitful, but that “There is time for that. Right now, we must see what happens on the
NEW DELHI 00002401 002 OF 003
DGOI siezed with Jammu and Kashmir unrest ----------------------- 4.(C) Queried on Jammu and Kashmir, Ponappa divided the situation into two parts: on the domestic side, she told Ambassador Patterson emphatically that “the government is seized with the issue from top to bottom,” and that the GOI “has in place the structures to deal with it.” She said, “We have managed to disaggregate the problem and we will use soft power and hard power to solve it.” The Ambassador asked Ponappa if elections were likely to be postponed due to the violence in Jammu and Kashmir, to which she replied that she was not sure.
The external component in Jammu and Kashmir ------------------------- 5.(C) On the external side of the Jammu and Kashmir issue, Ponappa said that one “can't distinguish between Jammu and Kashmir and northwest Pakistan as far as the terrorists are concerned.” She emphasized that the extremist groups infiltrating Kashmir are flexible, mobile, and regional. They are a threat to the whole region, including the U.S. mission in Afghanistan. She speculated that Jamaatul Daawa (JuD) may be “the center of it all, spawning more groups.” She pointed out that Musharraf, though he decreased infiltration across the frontier, did not dismantle the infrastructure that facilitated it. She said that the terrorist infrastructure appears stronger than before, and must be taken apart. Raghavan expressed concern about the lack of control in Pakistan's northwest areas. He argued that the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) had over the decades become used to the old formula of cutting deals in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) whenever trouble brewed there. It was a tried and tested formula. The problem, in his view, is that the people the ISI now cuts deals with are not the same people the ISI is used to. The leadership in the FATA has changed, and the old formula no longer works. Raghavan added that the recent increase in suicide bombings gives a clear signal to the Pakistani government that it can not relent on its efforts now.
Pakistan's political drama eclipses distressing Line of Control issues ------------------------ 6.(C) Raghavan said infiltration this year was higher than it has been for years. He believes political drama within Pakistan is eclipsing the deteriorating frontier situation. Raghavan indicated that the GOI sees the Pakistani military stopping infiltration in some areas at certain times while allowing some people to cross over at other times. He believed that the military is picking and choosing between Jihadi groups. The same groups are showing up on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, he said. Raghavan called for UN action to list JuD as a terrorist organization. He added that reports of Islamist plots against the Beijing Olympics may make China more willing to support such measures.
Pakistan's political drama - anything is possible -------------------------- 7.(C) Ponappa asked Ambassador Patterson about the possibility of the coalition government making a comeback. They agreed that anything seems possible at this point, including a PML presidential candidate, or Nawaz's candidacy. Raghavan called the political line-up in Pakistan “a menu of bad options.” “There are a lot of good guys, but what are the political options?” he asked. He said that there is not enough focus in Pakistan on getting policy right. Asked how to fix that, especially in light of presidential campaigns in Pakistan, Raghavan replied that “Pakistan must help itself. Everything we say is held in suspicion.” Raghavan told Ambassador Patterson that the GOI made a specific policy decision to “keep quiet on Pakistan” after May 2007, when “we
NEW DELHI 00002401 003 OF 003
realized no political progress was to be made” through exchanging statements.
Contact and exchange between India and Pakistan ---------------------------- 8.(C) Ambassador Patterson asked about parliamentary exchanges between India and Pakistan, to which Ponappa replied “India-Pakistan relations are not as one-dimensional as Bollywood makes them look,” saying that there is a 'reat deal of contact and people-to-people exchange. She added that she believes there is a fair amount of informal contact between Members of Parliament (MPs). She noted that a South Asia Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) provision allows MPs from member countries to travel visa-free throughout the region. Raghavan lamented that there is currently no military contact between India and Pakistan, though India has suggested “soft” steps like music or sports exchanges but has always been turned down. Pakistan even declined India's invitation to the world military games, he added. Raghavan noted that the Institute of Strategic Studies in Islamabad and the Institute of Defense Studies in India have signed an MOU, which may encourage peripheral contact between the two defense establishments.
Sir Creek and Siachen disputes ----------------------------- 9.(C) Raghavan reported that there has been good progress on the Sir Creek dispute, but that now “the mood in Pakistan is too self-absorbed to work on it.” On Siachen, he reported that the Indian Army has drawn a line with its political leadership. It has told the GOI that withdrawal was tantamount to ceding the area to Pakistan due to the difficulty of retaking it should Pakistan occupy it. Instead, the GOI is attempting to “soften” the issue by proposing joint military projects such as environmental clean up or trekking. There has been no Pakistani response to these suggestions, he noted.
10.(U) Ambassador Patterson has cleared this cable.