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05NEWDELHI3745 2005-05-18 13:27:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy New Delhi
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					  C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 NEW DELHI 003745 


E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/17/2015




Classified By: PolCouns Geoff Pyatt, for Reasons 1.4 (B, D)

1. (C) Summary: In a May 18 meeting with Polcouns and
Poloff, MEA Joint Secretary (Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran)
Dilip Sinha gave us the clearest GOI position on Siachen we
have had in some time, stressing that settlement will require
a signed map showing current troop positions in order to
close a deal with Islamabad on demilitarizing the Glacier.
He confirmed other reports that the PM would like to see a
deal on this long festering issue. On the Baglihar dam, New
Delhi will respect the neutral expert's decision, although
New Delhi insists Islamabad was premature in invoking the
Indus Waters Treaty dispute resolution process. Planning for
the Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline may move forward, with
Petroleum Minister Mani Shankar Aiyar meeting Pakistani and
Iranian counterparts over the next several weeks. MEA sees
terrorist attacks in Kashmir as an expected seasonal uptick
as the infiltration passes start to clear. Alluding to NSA
Narayanan's concern (expressed to the Charge May 17) about
the need to insulate the peace process from an upsurge in
terrorism, Polcouns pressed for more US-India information
sharing on Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (LET). Sinha agreed in
principle to renew former J/S AK Singh's practice of
arranging Indian intelligence briefings on cross-border
terrorism. End Summary.

2. (C) In response to PolCouns' remark about Indian media
and NSA Narayanan's upbeat perspective on the trajectory of
Indo-Pak relations (Ref A), Sinha replied that he was keeping
his fingers crossed, and hailed the continued success of the
LoC cease-fire (now in its nineteenth month). He underlined
the importance of keeping the dialogue open, and of the need
"to avoid panic if it takes more than one or two rounds to
resolve some of these issues." He said that only two sets of
Composite Dialogue talks are currently scheduled, with the
rest of the agenda yet to be determined:

-- May 25-26 (Islamabad): Defense Secretaries discuss
demilitarizing Siachen Glacier; and

-- May 27-28 (Islamabad): The two Surveyors-General meet to
discuss the delineation of the border at Sir Creek.

MEA Firm: Signed Map Before Demilitarizing Siachen



3. (C) On Polcouns' question of whether a Siachen deal was
"ripe fruit to be picked" during the upcoming May 25-26
meeting between Defense Secretaries, as recently
characterized by strategists C Raja Mohan and AG Noorani,
Sinha explained why the MEA wants a signed map showing
current troop positions before pulling forces back from the
Glacier. Despite tacit agreement on demilitarization and
where the troops would re-deploy, New Delhi needed Islamabad
to publicly accept the Actual Ground Position Line (AGPL)
because there was no trust regarding Siachen "post-Kargil."
If Islamabad did not publicly and explicitly accept the AGPL
with a delineated map signed by the two Defense Secretaries,
he said, it could dispute the demarcation at a later date. A
signed map would be harder to refute and would give the GOI
political cover for a diplomatic or military response should
Pakistani troops later occupy the territory on the Saltoro
ridge line that Indian troops now hold. Sinha cautioned that
"1989 and 1992 are in the past," referring to two prior
occasions when a deal on Siachen appeared imminent.
Likewise, on Sir Creek he indicated that a deal was
achievable, but only if Islamabad agrees to clear demarcation.

Respecting Baglihar Process


4. (C) Sinha reiterated that India would abide by whatever
decision emerged from the neutral expert appointed under the
Indus Waters Treaty (IWT) dispute resolution process (Ref B),
although he maintained that Islamabad was premature to
initiate it and he believed that the GOI would be vindicated.
Sinha agreed with PolCouns' assertion that India and
Pakistan would be likely to exercise more caution on the
water issue in J&K in the future, with Indian hydroelectric
engineers more careful about their designs, and Islamabad
less likely to refer disputes to arbitration, depending on
the outcome. Echoing what we have heard from the Pakistani
Charge, Sinha was confident that Baglihar was now on the
right track and could be managed through technical talks.

Ministerial Pipeline Talks Coming Up


5. (C) Pointing out that Petroleum Minister Mani Shankar
Aiyar would visit Pakistan around May 25 and Iran in early
June (dates not finalized), Sinha said that India's main
interest in Iran is energy. The Iran-Pakistan-India gas
pipeline was an important CBM that was also critical for
India's energy needs. Sinha ticked off "numerous" problems
the project faces aside from ILSA -- finance, security,
"Pakistan's intransigence" -- but the three governments would
work to overcome them because the project was important for
all three economies and would promote regional cooperation
and prosperity. Polcouns briefed on ILSA's provisions, but
Sinha appeared only broadly aware of the law and accepted our
offer of a detailed paper on ILSA.

6. (C) Sinha conveyed GOI openness to pursuing other energy
options, including the proposed
Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan pipeline. He cautioned,
however, that he knew of no independent assessment of how
much gas Turkmenistan has, or how much was already obligated
to Russia, which makes this venture less compelling for India
than the pipeline originating in Iran. Acknowledging that
actual construction could take as long as ten years on either
of these projects, Sinha underscored the importance India
attaches to lining up resources to meet its current and
future energy requirements.

Too Soon to Assess Pak Support for Terrorism


7. (C) After receiving PolCouns' condolences for recent
terrorist attacks against civilian targets in J&K, including
the May 12 grenade attack at the Tyndale-Briscoe school in
Srinagar, Sinha observed that the seasonal uptick in violence
in the Valley had begun. Stressing that the GOI had seen no
movement by the GOP to uproot terrorist infrastructure (Ref C
and previous), despite the US-led UN designation of
Lashkar-e-Tayyiba as an Al-Qaida affiliate, Sinha declared
that New Delhi wanted an end to Islamabad's "double game" of
fighting Al-Qaida in the tribal areas bordering Afghanistan
while supporting Kashmir-oriented terrorism. "We want to see
the same level of commitment in (Pakistan's) east as you see
in the west," he stated.

8. (C) Alluding to NSA Narayanan's concern (Ref A),
expressed to the Charge on May 17 about the need to insulate
the peace process from an upsurge in terrorism, Polcouns
pressed for more US-India information sharing on
Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (LeT). Sinha agreed in principle to renew
his predecessor J/S AK Singh's practice of arranging
intelligence-based briefings on cross-border terrorism
trends. Polcouns underlined Washington's abiding interest in
LeT, including for its activities in Iraq and the United


9. (C) Sinha's statement that a signed map of the AGPL is a
political requirement for New Delhi is the most definitive
language we have heard on what it needs to make a deal on
Siachen. His upbeat opinion of the Composite Dialogue
process and his caution against impatience are usual for the
MEA, which prefers to dampen speculation of "low-hanging
fruit," even when the political level is looking for ways to
move forward.

10. (C) We are encouraged that MEA may be willing to explore
more detailed information sharing. This may be due, in part,
to our leadership in adding LeT to the UNSC 1267 Sanctions
List (Ref C), and to the growing appreciation of the problem
that LeT poses for both countries. We will report any
briefings in detail septel.