M A I N   N E W S

Wikileaks expose
Hillary mocked at India’s UNSC bid
Described New Delhi as a ‘self-appointed front runner’
Ashok Tuteja/TNS

New Delhi, November 29
Days after visiting New Delhi in July last year, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton clubbed India with Brazil, Germany and Japan as “self-appointed front runners” for permanent seats in an expanded United Nations Security Council (UNSC).

The US administration also remained silent when informed by Turkey that India had been kept out of a meeting in Istanbul early this year on Afghanistan just to appease Pakistan. These disclosures have been made in classified documents released by WikiLeaks, the whistleblower website, as part of its leak of a quarter million classified documents of the US administration.

Clinton’s message to the US diplomats on the UNSC reforms came on July 31, 2009, some 10 days after her visit to India during which she formally invited Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to visit Washington as the first State guest of the Obama administration. The secret cable issued by Clinton asked the US diplomats to ascertain deliberations regarding the UNSC expansion among “self-appointed front runners” for permanent seats - India, Brazil, Germany and Japan (the group of four); uniting for consensus group-Mexico, Italy and Pakistan-that opposes the additional-permanent UNSC seats; African group; and the European Union as well as the key UN officials within the secretariat and the UN General Assembly Presidency.

Asked for New Delhi’s comments on WikiLeaks, Minister of State for External Affairs Preneet Kaur said: “This is a very sensitive issue. We have a good bilateral relations (with the US) and they had already warned us.... So, I think it is not the right time to comment on it and we want to continue having good relationship with the US. So, I think let us wait and work this out.”

New Delhi is keeping a close watch on the disclosures. It is only hoping that there are no such leaks, which can cloud the Indo-US relationship. The first set of 226 documents posted on the WikiLeaks website yesterday included at least 22 documents with an Indian connection. The initial batch of documents released don’t include anything that can be called explosive from the Indian perspective.

Another leaked message shows despite its appreciation of India’s role in Afghanistan, Washington could not convince the Turkish leadership to invite New Delhi to a conference on Afghanistan in Istanbul held in January this year. It said India was kept out of a meeting in Turkey on Afghanistan to appease Pakistan even though Islamabad also viewed that excluding India from such regional structures would be a “mistake”.

At a meeting with the US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs William Burns, then Turkey's Deputy Under Secretary for Political Affairs responsible for the West Asia, South Asia and Africa, Rauf Engin Soysal, said Turkey had not invited India to the Afghanistan Neighbours Summit in deference to Pakistani sensitivities. “He (Soysal) said Turkey had not invited India to the Neighbours' Summit in deference to Pakistani sensitivities; however, he claimed, Pakistan understands attempting to exclude India from the nascent South Asian regional structures will be a mistake,” said the cable dated February 25, 2010.

Discussing the impact of the possible downfall of then Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, a top US official briefed the Israeli intelligence chief in August 2007 on the US efforts to reduce tensions between India and Pakistan, another document shows. Burns said, “The US-Indian economic cooperation is growing, and that the US Government is working effectively to reduce tensions between India and Pakistan.”

One cable sought biographical and biometric information on key members of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), G-77 and the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) permanent representatives of, especially nations like China, India, Egypt, Indonesia, Pakistan, South Africa and Cuba.

The cable also wanted to know about members’ plans for plenary meetings of the Nuclear Suppliers’ Group (NSG); views of the Indo-US nuclear deal, besides views of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), prospects for country ratification and coming into force of the treaty.







Special to the tribune
US tried to remove enriched Pak uranium: WikiLeaks
Shyam Bhatia in London

Leaked US documents that highlight concerns over the security of enriched uranium fuel in Pakistan are believed to relate to two experimental reactors at the Pakistan Nuclear Institute of Science and Technology (Pinstech) near Islamabad.

Diplomatic sources in London say the two reactors, one designed and supplied by the US in the 1960s and the other built by the Pakistanis themselves, are known as PARR-1 and PARR-2. Each is designed to work with highly enriched uranium fuel, which can also be adapted for weapons’ purposes.

The Pinstech fuel, however, is quite separate from the highly enriched uranium produced at nearby Kahuta and based on technology stolen from the West by Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan, the so called father of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons programme.

The Kahuta uranium facilities, ring fenced by elite battalions of the Pakistan army, are understood to have been used in the development of Pakistan’s estimated 25 nuclear bombs.

But a similar level of security has not been deployed around Pinstech, which explains the cable sent in 2009 by US ambassador to Pakistan, Anne Patterson. In the diplomatic cables leaked over the weekend by the WikiLeaks website, it emerges that Washington has been making strenuous efforts to remove highly enriched uranium fuel from a Pakistani research reactor.

Ambassador Patterson is quoted as saying how Pakistani officials had warned, “If the local media got word of the fuel removal, they certainly would portray it as the United States taking Pakistan’s nuclear weapons.”

Other cables sent from the US embassy in Islamabad refer to “grave fears” over the security of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons programme. Three months after the cables were sent, a leading international expert disclosed how Islamic militants had hit three Pakistani nuclear centres between November 2007 and August 2008.

Professor Shaun Gregory of Bradford University in the UK told how the militants had hit a nuclear storage facility in Sargodha on November 1, 2007, launched a suicide bomb attack on a nuclear air base at Kamra on December 10, 2007, and exploded bombs in August 2008 at entry points to one of Pakistan’s main nuclear assembly plants in Wah.

Dr Gregory told the media at the time, “These sites are all identified by various authorities as nuclear weapons or related sites.”

Asked to comment on the significance of ambassador Patterson’s cable, Dr Gregory said, “Yes, the cable does link to my paper and particularly to the assertion that the civil elements of the N-weapon system (i.e. fissile material, construction, refurbishment, etc) is rather less well protected than the military elements.”

The WikiLeaks also highlight the US intelligence speculation that North Korea sold Iran components of both the R27 and BM 25 missiles. Both are based on Russian designs. 



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