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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
07NEWDELHI2460 2007-05-23 12:48:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy New Delhi
Cable title:  

DELHI DIARY, MAY 18-23

Tags:   PREL PGOV PTER MOPS MARR PHUM BT PK CH IN 
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					  C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 NEW DELHI 002460 

SIPDIS

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E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/23/2017
TAGS: PREL PGOV PTER MOPS MARR PHUM BT PK CH IN
SUBJECT: DELHI DIARY, MAY 18-23

REF: A. NEW DELHI 8243


B. NEW DELHI 1681

C. 06 NEW DELHI 6886

Classified By: Acting PolCouns Atul Keshap for Reasons 1.4 (B,D)



1. (U) Below is a compilation of political highlights from
Embassy New Delhi for May 18-23, 2007 that did not feature in
our other reporting, including:

-- Crude Bombs in UP Point to Internal Politics
-- India Gives the Green Light for Civil Servants to Visit
China
-- Indian Army Chief Begins China Tour
-- The UPA Accepts the Recommendations of the Sachar Report
on Muslim Minorities
-- OBC Quota Debate Rages On
-- None Injured in Bhutan Bombing

Crude Bombs in UP Point to Internal Politics


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





1. (C) Three low intensity blasts in a crowded shopping area
of Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh (UP), on May 22, injured six
people, but killed no one. The bombs were placed in tiffin
lunch boxes and tied to bicycles. Police described the bombs
as "light" or "crude." Press reports said further that in
Faizabad on May 23, police found 10 kg of explosives and 20
liters of ammonium nitrate at a railway station. Faizabad is
just ten kilometers from Ayodhya, which has been the center
of communal tension following the destruction of the Babri
mosque in 1992 and subsequent riots, while Gorakhpur was
wracked by communal riots earlier in the year and is the site
of a famous temple which is a Hindu pilgrimage site.
(Comment: The crude nature of these bombs, which exploded
but did not kill anyone despite going off in a crowded
market-place, suggests that this is not the hand of
Lashkar-e-Taiba or other Pakistan-based groups. Rather, this
may point to the violent, mafioso-style politics typical of
UP, especially so close to a change in governments. The
defeated government of Mulayam Singh Yadav had close
associations with UP crime gangs and often used them to
incite communal riots or attack political enemies. UP
contacts speculate that these elements may be trying to put
the new Bahujan Samaj Party government of Chief Minister
Mayawati off balance. As with other bombings across India
there was little communal tension in response, although the
Vishva Hindu Parishad organized a complete shut down (bandh)
of shops in the aftermath of the blasts. End Comment.)

India Gives the Green Light for Civil Servants to Visit China


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





2. (C) Signaling a significant change in internal policy,
the Government of India's (GOI) prestigious Administration
Service (IAS) is sending its entire class of 1991 to visit
China May 25-June 10, the Hindustan Times (HT) quoted IAS
Officer from the Orissa cadre, Satyabrata Sahu, May 21. HT
was unable to obtain details of the visit, but quoted sources
as saying that the MEA has given political clearance to all
of its 1991 officers. Our Locally Engaged Staff have
ascertained that this is the first time a group of IAS
officials such as this has been given clearance for official
overseas travel. Post stopped submitting IAS officers for
the International Visitors Program (IVP) a few years ago due
to snags in candidates receiving the necessary MEA and
Ministry of Home Affairs clearances for official visits
abroad.



3. (C) COMMENT: While the GOI reportedly mulls over
similar overtures from Japan and France, this recent IAS
announcement may reflect the support of Communist Party
Marxist (CPM) officials in senior government positions who
never worry about possible recruitment by their Communist
brethren to the north, even as they continue to be paranoid
of the perceived risks from the capitalist west. The silver
lining is that the next generation of India's administration

NEW DELHI 00002460 002 OF 002


will realize how far they must get to catch up to China. END
COMMENT

Indian Army Chief Begins China Tour


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





4. (SBU) India's Chief of the Army Staff General J.J. Singh
began his five-day China tour with a call on his Chinese
counterpart, General Liang Guanglie on May 21. Singh is also
scheduled to visit military institutions and units in Wuhan,
Hangzhoiu, and Shanghai. The May 21 edition of "The Hindu"
reports that the visit will focus on the modalities for the
first ever joint military exercises as a follow up to the
Memorandum of Understanding signed by the defense ministries
last year, signaling a new era of military cooperation. Post
will report more details via front channel cable.

The UPA Accepts the Recommendations of the Sachar Report on
Muslim Minorities


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





5. (SBU) The Sachar Panel,s report on the socio-economic
and educational status of Muslim minorities kicked up
considerable heat and dust a few months ago and has now
reached the implementation stage. At a United Progressive
Alliance (UPA) meeting chaired by PM Singh on May 17, the
Cabinet approved the Sachar Committee,s recommendations for
drastic steps to bring Muslims into the mainstream. The
government will focus on 90 Muslim-dominated districts and
will set up four committees on 1) equal opportunity, 2) a
national data bank, 3) education and skill development, and
4) identification of (other) minority-dominated districts.
Media reports quoted Sonia Gandhi as saying, &It is really a
paradox that in our country, which produces eminent
scientists, we have the largest number of illiterates also.8
For more information on the Sachar report, see reftel A.

OBC Quota Debate Rages On


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





6. (SBU) On May 17, the Supreme Court ruled that the UPA's
hotly debated 27 percent reservation of all seats in
publicly-funded institutions for Otherwise Backward Classes
(OBCs) must be referred to a larger Constitutional Bench.
When Parliament passed the quota law in January, the Supreme
Court intervened on March 29 and imposed a stay to halt its
implementation, which the Center loudly appealed to revoke.
Now, it is unlikely that the OBC quota law will be
implemented in time for the coming 2007-2008 academic year,
since convincing enough judges to give up their vacations to
listen to petitions during India,s hot summer months is
highly improbable. For history and political undercurrents
on this issue, see reftels B and C.

None Injured in Bhutan Bombing


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





7. (U) The main Bhutanese media outlet Kuensel reported that
a bomb exploded in a parked bus May 23 in Phuentsholing on
the Indian border. No injuries or deaths were reported, as
the bus was sitting empty in a workshop at the time. This
brings to four the number of incidents of bombs found inside
Bhutan in the last seven months:

a. October 2006: two bombs found in Phuentsholing and
safely defused.
b. December 2006: a bomb exploded in Phuentsholing,
wounding four.
c. March 2007: an IED was found and safely defused in a
roadside culvert on the road between Pasakah and Tala.
d. May 2007: a bomb exploded on a bus in Phuentsholing;
none were injured.
PYATT