Indian NSA M.K. Narayanan stressed a desire to work closely to develop a ambitious agenda for PM Singh's November visit to Washington and flagged his decisive role in pushing through End-Use Monitoring Agreement (EUM) and directing Indian foreign policy, during an August 10 introductory call by the Ambassador.
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RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC","C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 NEW DELHI 001677
E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/10/2019
TAGS: PGOV, PREL, PTER, PARM, KNNP, ENRG, PK, KN, IN
SUBJECT: NSA NARAYANAN ON CIV-NUKE IMPLEMENTATION, CT/INTEL COOPERATION, AND PAKISTAN
REF: A. NEW DELHI 1668
B. NEW DELHI 1620
Classified By: Ambassador Timothy Roemer for Reasons 1.4 (B) and (D).
1. (C) Summary: Indian NSA M.K. Narayanan stressed a desire to work closely to develop a ambitious agenda for PM Singh's November visit to Washington and flagged his decisive role in pushing through End-Use Monitoring Agreement (EUM) and directing Indian foreign policy, during an August 10 introductory call by the Ambassador. On civ-nuke deal implementation, Narayanan pledged that all pending GOI actions, including announcement of the two U.S. reactor parks, adoption of liability legislation, and declaration of safeguarded facilities to the IAEA, would be completed well before PM Singh's November 24 arrival in Washington. Narayanan called counterterrorism and intel cooperation one of the most ""vibrant"" areas of U.S.-India cooperation and expressed hope that DNI Blair could visit India by October to ""build on our success."" On Pakistan, Narayanan readily conceded a differing policy vision with his boss, noting that he did not share PM Singh's ""great belief"" in talks and negotiations with Pakistan and suggested that the PM was isolated within his own government in this view. On DPRK issues, Narayanan claimed to have no additional information on the ship recently detained by Indian authorities off Little Andaman Island (ref a). He offered to share more information on the DPRK ship in our next meeting. End summary.
READY TO WORK WITH US
2. (C) Narayanan opened the discussion by stressing his desire to work closely with the Ambassador and start formulating an action plan for PM Singh's November 24 visit to Washington, which he noted he had just been discussing with the PM before the meeting took place. Narayanan asked specifically for U.S. ideas on what needed to be done and what could be achieved before the PM's visit. Narayanan responded enthusiastically to the Ambassador's thanking him for his critical support advancing the U.S.-India agenda on multiple fronts. He quipped, ""You don't know the flak I got on EUM,"" and noted that while he could often pull rank on intelligence and security issues, on other topics he did not get the same degree of cooperation from other Indian government ministries. When asked by the Ambassador which other, like-minded Indian government officials would be key
partners in advancing the U.S.-India agenda, Narayanan did not respond and instead noted that all matters related to nuclear and space issues, defense, and foreig policy should be directed to him. On the latter point, he reiterated that foreign policy was firmly in the hands of the Prime Minister's Office (PMO).
CIV-NUKE IMPLEMENTATION -- SOON
3. (C) Seizing upon Narayanan's query on what needs to be done, the Ambassador stressed the need for full and prompt implementation of the U.S.-India 123 agreement, including declaration of the two U.S. reactor parks to the Indian parliament, adoption of necessary liability legislation, and declaration of safeguarded facilities to the IAEA. Narayanan responded that all pending implementation items would be completed ""well before"" PM Singh's November 24 arrival in
Washington. On announcement of the two sites, he claimed that delays were due in part to the Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat sites not being part of what the Commission on Atomic Energy had originally approved; he added that his insistence helped bring the Commission on board and that the sites could now be reported to Parliament (on recess until November), which does not have to approve the government's decision. He NEW DELHI 00001677 002 OF 003 predicted that the liability legislation would be adopted by Parliament by November, and that the GOI declaration to the IAEA would proceed in this time frame as well.
NEED MORE CT/INTEL COOPERATION, DNI VISIT, LESSONS LEARNED
4.(C) Referring frequently to his status as an ""old spook,"" Narayanan described counterterrorism and intelligence cooperation as the most ""vibrant"" areas of U.S.-India cooperation. In this vein, he described an early visit to India by DNI Blair as crucial, and sought the Ambassador's assistance in persuading Blair to come to India by October ""to build on our success."" Narayanan noted that he had invited the DNI to visit India some three months ago, and would like our help in renewing the invitation. The Ambassador said he would extend an invite to DNI Blair, as he was someone with expertise on maritime, joint operations, and Indian Ocean issues. Narayanan also was receptive to the Ambassador's suggestion that he and Home Minister Chidambaram seek meetings with Department of Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano during upcoming visits to Washington.
5. (C) On lessons learned from the Mumbai attacks, Narayanan was receptive to the Ambassador's description of his role serving on and co-sponsoring legislation that created the 9/11 Commission. Comparing the U.S. and Indian experiences, the Ambassador noted the critical role that the Commission played in assessing failures, correcting the stovepiped nature of U.S. intelligence collection, and forcing federal authorities and state and local law enforcement to work together to address the threat of terrorism. When asked whether the GOI would be willing to share its own classified ""after action report"" on the Mumbai attacks, Narayanan demurred and noted that the report in question had been prepared by the State of Maharashtra, and that the central government would share it with us as soon as it became available. In response to the Ambassador's suggestion that the United States and India consider holding a conference to compare lessons learned from 9/11 and 11/26, Narayanan suggested that perhaps an ""off the record"" brainstorming session would be most useful.
DIFFERENCES WITH PM ON PAKISTAN
6. (C) In a brief aside, Narayanan readily conceded that he had differences with PM Singh on Pakistan. He described the PM as a ""great believer"" in talks and negotiations with Islamabad, while Narayanan himself was ""not a great believer in Pakistan."" He added that after the Prime Minister spoke in speeches of India's ""shared destiny"" with Pakistan, he told the PM ""you have a shared destiny, we don't."" (Comment: Narayanan made the comments above with some joviality and was totally complimentary of the PM throughout the discussion. He made a point of commending PM Singh's intellect, economic prowess among the G-20 leaders, and self-effacing manner as
an ""accidental politician"" and former civil servant like him. End comment.)
DPRK -- NO NEWS ON DETAINED SHIP
7. (C) Asked by the Ambassador for news of the suspect DPRK ship recently detained by Indian authorities (ref a), Narayanan claimed he had not received a report yet on the investigation, which would indicate no dramatic findings so far. He concluded that the ship had no business being there, and that the Indian government was still trying to determine why it was in the Andamans. He noted that he could follow-up with the Ambassador with more information on the ship in their next meeting. NEW DELHI 00001677 003 OF 003
8. (C) Three aspects of Narayanan's comments struck us as most noteworthy: 1) his rather blunt assertion that foreign policy is being run out of PMO, which lends credence to recent media chatter describing a marginalized Ministry of External Affairs under FM Krishna; 2) his admission of differences with PM's Singh's stance on negotiations with Pakistan, and his intimation that the PM is isolated within his government in maintaining this position; and 3) his repeated reference to seeking closer ties with U.S. officials, particularly DNI Blair and NSA Jones. On the second point, although Narayanan's tough stance on Pakistan is well-known, his readiness to distance himself from his boss in an initial courtesy call would suggest that PM Singh is more isolated than we thought within his own inner circle in his effort to ""trust but verify"" and pursue talks with Pakistan, particularly in the wake of the hammering his government took from opposition for the July ""Sharm al Sheikh"" statement with PM Gilani (ref b). This certainly confirms the risks and volatility the PM faces in opening up new dialogue with Pakistan, and means increased GOI sensitivity to perceived pressure from outsiders, particularly the USG, to re-engage with Islamabad. On the third point above, we would welcome a visit by DNI Blair to New Delhi at the earliest opportunity. In between such high-level visits, we would encourage more regular, informal phone calls from senior White House, State Department, and U.S. intelligence officials with key decisionmakers like Narayanan, to help pave the way for a productive PM visit and implementation of a robust U.S.-India agenda. End comment.