|09NEWDELHI396||2009-03-03 14:58:00||CONFIDENTIAL||Embassy New Delhi|
1. (C) Acting Deputy Chief of Mission Peter Kaestner met MEA
United Nations-Political Division Joint Secretary Asit
Bhattacharjee on March 3, 2009 regarding India's plans to
withdraw its troops from the UN Mission in the Democratic
Republic of Congo (MONUC). Kaestner expressed the USG's
gratitude for Indian peacekeeping efforts and asked
Bhattacharjee how the US can help resolve this matter so
that India can continue its participation in MONUC.
Bhattacharjee responded that the GOI has given the DRC many
opportunities to make amends for its negative public
statements about India's participation in MONUC. However,
the DRC has instead refused to express confidence in Indian
troops to counter negative press articles about them.
Bhattacharjee emphasized it is GOI policy not to be present
where it is not wanted and will work with the UN on an
orderly withdrawal process of the Indian contingent and
equipment. He admitted the UN is extremely worried about the
withdrawal's impact on peace and security in the area.
...We can reconsider if DRC makes right moves
2. (C) Bhattacharjee said the GOI would welcome a delegation
from the DRC to consult on MONUC participation but questioned
whether that could resolve the matter. The DRC made both
private and public comments against India's MONUC
involvement; the DRC's efforts to make amends would have to
go beyond mere private assurances and be at least as public
as the DRC's negative public statements. He added that
though the GOI's decision was political, India does not hold
a "doctrinaire" position on the matter. India has
contributed to UN peacekeeping missions a long time including
to the Congo from 1960-1965 in which India suffered many
casualties. The GOI is not used to taking drastic measures,
but there have to be consequences to the DRC's actions and
words, Bhattacharjee added.
3. (C) The GOI seems open to reviewing its decision provided
the DRC makes private, and more importantly, public moves to
make amends. The GOI feels it has been insulted and for it
not to lose face, the DRC will need to make dramatic moves to
persuade India to stay in MONUC.