In Menon's view, Sheikh Hasina's government had taken the right steps in ending the revolt and the GOI was pleased that opposition leader Khaleda Zia had demonstrated solidarity with the government.

194661 3/2/2009 11:46 09NEWDELHI381 Embassy New Delhi CONFIDENTIAL 09DHAKA207 "VZCZCXRO6638OO RUEHBI RUEHCI RUEHDBU RUEHLH RUEHPWDE RUEHNE #0381 0611146ZNY CCCCC ZZHO 021146Z MAR 09FM AMEMBASSY NEW DELHITO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5570INFO RUCNCLS/ALL SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA COLLECTIVE PRIORITYRUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING PRIORITY 7418RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 6006RUEHGO/AMEMBASSY RANGOON PRIORITY 1304RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO PRIORITY 6123RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITYRHHMUNA/CDR USPACOM HONOLULU HI PRIORITYRUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC PRIORITYRUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY" "C O N F I D E N T I A L NEW DELHI 000381

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/02/2019 TAGS: PREL, PGOV, PINS, BG, IN SUBJECT: FS MENON CALLS IN CHARGE ON SITUATION IN BANGLADESH

REF: DHAKA 207

Classified By: Charge d'Affaires Steven White. Reasons: 1.4(B, D).

1. (C) Summary: Charge was called in by Foreign Secretary Menon on Saturday, February 28, to hear GOI concerns about the situation in Bangladesh. Menon said that while India was relieved that the rebellion by paramilitary troops appeared to be over, Delhi was worried that the Jamaat-e-Islami might use the turmoil to destabilize the newly-installed government in Dhaka. He called for close coordination and consultation between the U.S. and India. End Summary.

2. (C) Menon called in Charge for an unusual Saturday meeting on the evolving situation in Bangladesh. Apologizing for the short notice, Menon said that he had been attending the SAARC Standing Committee meeting when word of the violence by Bangladesh Rifle troops had reached Colombo. The rebellion had been touched on in the SAARC meeting, but India's initial response was that it was an internal affair of Bangladesh. However, since the SAARC meeting, details regarding the discovery of mass graves had come out. Menon said that it now appeared to the GOI that the uprising had not been a spontaneous mutiny but had been the result of extensive planning.

3. (C) In Menon's view, Sheikh Hasina's government had taken the right steps in ending the revolt and the GOI was pleased that opposition leader Khaleda Zia had demonstrated solidarity with the government. More worrisome to Menon was the likely effect of the violence on the Army, which had clearly suffered significant losses of officers during the revolt. Menon indicated that this could lead to trouble with the Army, noting that some of the bodies of slain military officers had been thrown into sewers. However, Chief of Army Staff General Moeen Udin Ahmed appeared to be working closely with the civilian government and had appropriately sought to prevent amnesty for those directly involved in the killings. This could help stabilize the situation, according to Menon, and prevent further violence.

4. (C) Menon also said the GOI was concerned that the Jamaat-e-Islami would take advantage of the instability to ""fish in troubled waters."" While not directly stating that he believed the Jamaat had been involved in the rebellion, he noted that the party was extremely disappointed with the results of the December elections and steps the new government had taken which threatened the party. He noted that the party was meeting to decide how to respond to the violence.

5. (C) Menon reviewed India's diplomatic efforts so far, noting that the GOI had been in touch with London, Beijing and Tokyo about the situation. Sheikh Hasina had contacted External Affairs Minister Mukherjee at some point during the violence to ask for assistance from the international community, but had not been specific about the sort of help needed. Mukherjee had offered to be responsive if needed. Menon appreciated the U.S. statement on the violence and stressed the importance of close coordination and consultation between the U.S. and India as the situation developed. He warned that while the initial violence was over, it would take several days before it was clear what would happen next and that further trouble was possible. The Charge stressed the U.S. interest in supporting the democratic government of Bangladesh and agreed on the importance of consultations as warranted.

WHITE