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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
06NEWDELHI163 2006-01-09 14:07:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy New Delhi
Cable title:  

INDO-PAK WALTZ SLOWS: BACKWARD ON RHETORIC,

Tags:   PREL PTER ELTN ECIN ETRD IN PK 
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					C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 NEW DELHI 000163 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/08/2016
TAGS: PREL PTER ELTN ECIN ETRD IN PK
SUBJECT: INDO-PAK WALTZ SLOWS: BACKWARD ON RHETORIC,
FORWARD ON RAILS, SIDEWAYS ON SUMMIT

REF: A. 05 NEW DELHI 9771

B. 05 NEW DELHI 9766

Classified By: DCM Robert Blake, Jr. for Reasons 1.4 (B, D)



1. (C) Summary: In a January 9 conversation with the DCM
(other topics reported Septel), Deputy NSA Vijay Nambiar
underlined that much of the current friction between India
and Pakistan stems from ongoing Pakistan-sponsored terrorism
against India, including the spectacular Diwali bombings and
the attack by gunmen on the Indian Institute of Science in
Bangalore. The GOI remains frustrated at Musharraf's
predilection for floating unrealistic diplomatic trial
balloons, especially regarding Kashmir. In this regard, the
MEA's recent criticism of Islamabad's counter-terrorism
operations in Balochistan and the lack of democracy in Gilgit
and Baltistan is "a taste of their own medicine." Nambiar
downplayed PM Singh's decision not to go to Pakistan for the
Indo-Pak cricket match, which does not, he stressed, rule out
a visit later in the year. Meanwhile, a breakthrough in
talks to revive the Munnabao-Khokhrapar rail link between
Rajasthan and Sindh -- which had been dormant for 40 years --
will likely lead to their resumption next month, reinforcing
that in Delhi-Islamabad affairs, every step backward is
accompanied by one forward and one or two to the side.
Nevertheless, the constant terror against India is depleting
the GOI's goodwill toward Pakistan. End Summary.

Can't Separate Diplomacy from Cross-Border Terrorism


--------------------------



--------------------------





2. (C) DCM opened by asking whether the MEA's quick
dismissal of Musharraf's invitation for the PM to visit
Pakistan for one game of the cricket series was a missed
opportunity; Nambiar said it was a considered GOI decision.
According to Nambiar, much of the perceived friction in
current India-Pakistan relations stems from the spectacular
terrorist attacks following the October 8 Kashmir earthquake.
Nambiar underlined that Indo-Pak atmospherics changed
dramatically after the Diwali and Bangalore terrorist attacks
-- the GOI would "send the wrong message" if it acted as
though the dialogue remains untouched by these attacks.
Nambiar's sentiment is in line with MEA Spokesman Navtej
Sarna's January 7 remark reminding Musharraf of his January
2004 promise not to permit terrorists who target India to use
territory under Pakistan's control.

GOI Frustrated at Musharraf's Media Diplomacy


--------------------------





3. (C) Nambiar reported that Musharraf's latest unrealistic
Kashmir volley -- calling for India to demilitarize Srinagar,
Kupwara and Baramullah, and to enhance self-governance for
Kashmir -- "upped the ante" and "took Kashmir to a boil"
within the GOI. "Demilitarization is out of the question,
self-governance is an internal discussion ... we have our own
momentum, we will not adhere to his momentum" on Kashmir,
Nambiar continued. National Security Council Secretariat
(NSCS) Additional Secretary SD Pradhan underscored that "we
need to make the conversation bilateral, it cannot happen
through the media," and that any demilitarization in J&K
would have to follow an improvement in security (read
terrorism), which echoed the MEA's January 7 reply to

NEW DELHI 00000163 002 OF 003


Musharraf's overture. Nambiar also noted that Musharraf's
repeated publicly floating diplomatic brainstorms invites
shelling from the UPA's critics and makes the proposals that
much harder for the government to debate, whether or not
their substance is acceptable.



4. (C) On Musharraf's call for self-governance, Nambiar
observed that the J&K state government was freely elected,
fully democratic, and fully representative. He pointed to
the successful 2004 elections and the credibility of Mufti
Mohammad's government as examples. Citing the special status
the Indian Constitution grants to J&K under Article 370,
Nambiar emphasized that "autonomy is not new to J&K, if
anything it's the opposite." The MEA on January 7 also
pointed out that, in contrast to J&K, "there had been no
popular elections in Gilgit and Baltistan (in Pakistan's
Northern Areas)."

MEA Balochistan Remarks "A Taste of Their Own Medicine"


--------------------------



--------------------------





5. (C) In the above vein, Nambiar and Pradhan characterized
the MEA Spokesman's December 27 comments that India was
"watching with concern the spiraling violence in Balochistan
and hopes that the Pakistan government will exercise
restraint" (Ref B) as offering Islamabad "a taste of their
own medicine" for years of official remarks on the human
rights situation in J&K.

Nambiar Downplays Mirwaiz Pakistan Trip


--------------------------





6. (C) Nambiar outlined that several factors make Hurriyat
leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq's current Pakistan visit
lackluster from Delhi's perspective. His calls for
demilitarization and self-governance are unrealistic and
vague, respectively, well worn, and preempted by Musharraf.
The subjects are also "not part of the Indian discourse" and
are therefore unlikely to generate much interest in India.
Nambiar further noted that other influential separatists,
such as Yasin Malik and Shabir Shah, remain outside the
Hurriyat (and therefore outside Mirwaiz's orbit). Pradhan
dismissed Mirwaiz as "unable to make decisions on his own."
(Translation: "He's a Pakistani pawn.")

PM Singh Doesn't Play Cricket (Diplomacy)


--------------------------





7. (C) Nambiar downplayed PM Singh's decision not to attend
a cricket match in Pakistan, remarking that "cricket
diplomacy is not our baby." The MEA statement on Musharraf's
recent invitation to Pakistan merely noted that the PM does
not plan to attend any of the winter-spring 2006 Indo-Pak
cricket matches; it leaves open the question of following up
on Musharraf's April 2005 invite to the PM.

Train Back on Track, Bus Stats Released


--------------------------





8. (U) On a more positive note, the January 6 joint Indo-Pak
statement on the Munnabao-Khokhrapar train -- to be called
"The Thar Express" after the desert it will traverse --
announced that service would begin on February 1. To bridge

NEW DELHI 00000163 003 OF 003


the impasse on how to handle border crossings (Ref A), each
side will take turns running the train service. For the
first six months, the Pakistan train will run to the station
at Munnabao, and for the next six months the Indian train
will travel as far as the Khokhrapar station, with each
making a customs-and-security stop at the border. An Indian
technical team is to travel to Pakistan later in January to
sign the draft agreement that was discussed in Delhi on
January 5-6.



9. (U) According to Indian government figures, the
Srinagar-Muzaffarabad bus brought 355 Indian nationals to
Pakistani Kashmir and 374 Pakistani nationals to J&K between
April and December 2005.

Back-Channel Taking a Back Seat


--------------------------





10. (C) To the DCM's query on the SK Lambah-Tariq Aziz
back-channel, Nambiar replied that to his knowledge there
have been no recent meetings, and the only telephone
conversation of which he was aware related to the Balochistan
imbroglio.

Comment: The Dance Slows


--------------------------





11. (C) Criticisms by the normally soft-spoken D/NSA cannot
be overstated -- although the GOI knows by now that Musharraf
likes to test his ideas out in public, that approach not only
does not work in Delhi, it dooms most proposals upon arrival
regardless of whether the substance could be considered
acceptable even for debate. The PM controls when (or
whether) he takes up Musharraf's offer to host him, subject
to a calendar that is rapidly filling with state visits to
India by, among others, Australia, China, France, and the US,
although a summit in 2006 remains more likely than not. The
breakthrough on the Munnabao-Khokhrapar rail link, moreover,
demonstrates that Delhi is willing to grit its teeth to
expand confidence-building measures (especially those that
facilitate free trade) even while heating up its rhetoric and
pouring cold water on Islamabad's perceived desire for a
spring summit. What's going on here is that Delhi is sending
warning signs that continued terrorism is depleting
Pakistan's reserve of goodwill in the GOI.



12. (U) Visit New Delhi's Classified Website:
(http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/sa/newdelhi/)
MULFORD