Outraged that an “American branded” hotel chain hosted Dawood Ibrahim's daughter's wedding party, a worked-up United States Consulate in Mumbai sent a strong cable to Washington suggesting that the parent corporation be taken to task for its lack of judgment. It is not known, however, if the consulate's “action request” cabled on August 8, 2005 (38140: confidential), and accessed by The Hindu through WikiLeaks, was ever acted upon.
But at the very least, it should come as consolation to hardened sceptics of India-U.S. counterterrorism cooperation that an American official was receptive to Indian security concerns.
The daughter of the Mumbai don married the son of former Pakistan cricketer Javed Miandad in July 2005. The reception was held on July 23, in Dubai.
“It is also an established fact that [Dawood's] daughter was the focus of an upscale wedding reception in Dubai on July 23 at a hotel carrying a famous American brand name. We find the hotel's judgment lacking, and its corporate parent ought to be asking some questions of its franchise in Dubai,” the cable went.
It drew an elaborate profile of Dawood, and made a reference to the speculation that he lives in Pakistan, without confirming it. It also described how the Indian press had staked out the Dubai hotel.
It described the don as “a topic of effective U.S./India CT [counter-terrorism] cooperation, and our October 2003 listing of him as a specially designated terrorist was a turning point in our bilateral dialogue on the issue.”
Calling attention to the “serious concern” in the Indian government at the “open manner” in which the reception was held, the cable said “our Indian contacts are perplexed and angry at how Ibrahim could brazenly host” such an event.
Send strong signal
“We believe the USG [United States government] should send a strong signal of solidarity and zero tolerance by generating a demarche asking the Grand Hyatt in Dubai where the money came from, and how.
‘‘We should also ask the Hyatt corporation in the U.S. how their local franchise could have made such a questionable decision,” it urged.
The demarche, the cable argued, should make the Hyatt chain, viewed in India as an American company, “explain why they took money for a wedding that was likely paid for — directly or indirectly — by the most wanted man in India, a man who is also on the U.S. government's list of foreign terrorist entities”.
(This article is a part of the series "The India Cables" based on the US diplomatic cables accessed by The Hindu via Wikileaks.)