Kashmir shows up in WikiLeaks
‘Resolving 63-Yr Old Conflict Would Dramatically Improve Situation’
PRESS TRUST OF INDIA
Washington, Dec 1: A top American diplomat has suggested that resolving the 63-year-old Kashmir conflict “would dramatically improve the situation” in the region. The remarks by the then American ambassador to Islamabad Anne Patterson were part of a cable dated 4 February 2009, which she wrote for US special envoy for Af-Pak region Richard Holbrook ahead of his maiden trip to Pakistan in his new capacity, following which he also visited India and Afghanistan, showed the classified US documents released by whistle-blower website WikiLeaks.
“We need to reassess Indian involvement in Afghanistan and our own policies towards India, including the growing military relationship through sizeable conventional arms sales, as all of this feeds Pakistani establishment paranoia and pushes them closer to both Afghan and Kashmir-focused militant groups while reinforcing doubts about US intentions,” Peterson said.
The 26/11 Mumbai attacks, according to Peterson, closed the door for any Indo-Pak discussions on Kashmir.
“Although the conventional wisdom says that Mumbai closed the door on Kashmir discussions, there is no doubt that Pakistan believes tackling the Kashmir issue remains the key to regional security,” Patterson wrote in the cable.
Patterson said that to avoid a potential Indian military strike, Pakistan needed to show progress on prosecuting those responsible for the Mumbai attacks.
Patterson told Holbrook that the Pakistani Foreign Ministry quashed the National Assembly debate of a resolution signed by leaders of most of the political parties urging the US to appoint a special envoy on Kashmir, or add that portfolio to your plate.
“However, privately, (President Asif Ali) Zardari and FM (Shah Mahmood) Qureshi have indicated they would welcome your engagement on Kashmir,” Patterson wrote in the cable to Holbrooke.
‘INDIA HAS STAKES IN HOLBROOKE’S SUCCESS’
Meanwhile, contrary to public perception that India was opposed to US Af-Pak envoy Richard Holbrooke and apprehensive of his reported role in Kashmir, a top Indian diplomat had told him within a month of his appointment that New Delhi had a huge stake in his success.
In his meeting with Holbrooke on February 16, 2009; the then Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon told the Special US Representative that India “has a huge stake” in his success in his new role and promised to support his efforts publicly to alleviate negative media speculation about his mandate; says another secret US diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks.
Menon, now the National Security Advisor, was today ranked 18 in the list of 100 top global thinkers by the prestigious Foreign Policy magazine.
Holbrooke was one of the first editors of the magazine, which is celebrating its 40th year of existence.
Holbrooke, accompanied by then US Ambassador to India, met Menon on February 16, 2009, along with his deputy Paul Jones, and his assistant Ashley Bommer.
The Indian side included Joint Secretary (Americas) Gaitri Kumar and Joint Secretary (Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran) TCA Raghvan.
During the meeting, Holbrooke explained his responsibilities as Special Representative and emphasised the importance of Indian views in the formulation of the new administration’s Af-Pak policy.
According to the cable, Menon cited the numerous times he had worked both publicly and privately with Holbrooke in the past, and said he was very happy to see him in his new incarnation.
The Indian government, too, was pleased with Holbrooke’s appointment, he stated, adding: “We have a huge stake in your success in this role”.
Menon said the Indian government was aware of the suspicions the media had created about Holbrooke’s mandate, especially his reported mandate on Kashmir.
Lastupdate on : Wed, 1 Dec 2010 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Wed, 1 Dec 2010 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Thu, 2 Dec 2010 00:00:00 IST
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