"The UPA wants at least to learn what the hijackers, who they believe are in our custody, know of the operation. To prove our new strategic partnership extends to the intelligence areas, we should share fully what we know."

45536 11/18/2005 11:56 05 NEWDELHI 8782 Embassy New Delhi SECRET 05NEWDELHI3647 "This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available." "S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 NEW DELHI 008782

SIPDIS

NSC FOR SLICK, RICHELSOPH STATE FOR SA CAMP, S/CT CRUMPTON DNI FOR NEGROPONTE, SHEDD CIA FOR DDO SECDEF FOR CAMBONE

E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/26/2015

TAGS: PGOV, PTER, KISL, KCRM, EAIR, IN, Counter-Terrorism, Indo-US

SUBJECT: MEA: LACK OF REPSONSE IN IC-814 CASE COULD HAMPER US-INDIA RELATIONS

REF: NEW DELHI 3647

Classified By: Charge Robert Blake, Jr. for Reasons 1.4 (B, D)

1. (U) This is an action request for S/CT, CIA, DNI, and SECDEF. See paragraph 5.

2. (C) MEA Joint Secretary (Americas) Jaishankar used a November 18 meeting with Charge and PolCouns to warn that a USG failure to respond to earlier information requests (Reftel) regarding the hijacking of IC-814 could infringe on the broader US-India law enforcement/intelligence relationship. He asserted that it was ""inexplicable that the US has not yet provided a worthwhile response"" to the Indian March 2005 nonpaper seeking information from hijacking detainees in US custody. He noted that, broadly, there is good cooperation with the FBI on investigations, but definitely not in this sensitive case.

3. (C) Jaishankar claimed that two of the GOI's key suspects in the IC-814 case, Ex-Civil Taliban Aviation Minister Mansoor Akhtar and Taliban Corps Commander Akhtar Usmani, are in US custody, but that the GOI is not asking for access to the prisoners, only for information. In deference to US political sensitivities, the GOI had dropped its request for information on former Taliban minister Muttawakil. Jaishankar indicated that the trial of the 10 accused in the hijacking (seven in absentia) is winding down and that the GOI, in absence of a US reply, will be forced to state in court that they are unable to proceed further due to US inaction. Action now, he stressed, would forestall such an embarrassing event. He also claimed that the lack of any grand jury indictments against the accused in the US raised doubts whether the we will prosecute, in spite of extensive FBI cooperation. (Legat Comment: The US has not filed indictments against the accused, because the FBI is still awaiting all available investigative documents and reports from the GOI. Since 2002, Legat has submitted at least six requests for information, and the GOI has yet to release all documents related to the case. We are following up in diplomatic channels. End Legat Comment.)

Comment:

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4. (S) The previous NDA government's decision to trade IC-814 passengers for terrorists in Indian jails was an ignominious decision, and defeat. The UPA wants at least to learn what the hijackers, who they believe are in our custody, know of the operation. To prove our new strategic partnership extends to the intelligence areas, we should share fully what we know. Such a step may prompt India to share more fully as well. Jaishankar is clearly testing the limits of our transformed relations.

5. (S) ACTION REQUEST FOR S/CT, SA, DNI, CIA, SECDEF: Mission would appreciate Washington action to verify the Indian's claims about the hijackers detention status. If they are in USG detention, we should grant Indian access or share information we have gleaned on the IC-814 hijacking. END ACTION REQUEST.

BLAKE "