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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06NEWDELHI2587 2006-04-18 07:07 2010-12-16 21:09 SECRET Embassy New Delhi
DE RUEHNE #2587/01 1080708
O 180708Z APR 06 ZDK
Tuesday, 18 April 2006, 07:08
S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 12 NEW DELHI 002587 
EO 12958 DECL: 04/18/2015 
REF: A. NEW DELHI 2446  B. NEW DELHI 2361  C. NEW DELHI 2291  D. NEW DELHI 2229  E. NEW DELHI 2119  F. NEW DELHI 1632  G. NEW DELHI 1611  H. NEW DELHI 1318  I. NEW DELHI 93  J. 05 CHENNAI 2901  K. 05 NEW DELHI 9421  L. 05 NEW DELHI 9249  M. 05 NEW DELHI 8782  N. 05 NEW DELHI 8436  O. 05 NEW DELHI 7725  P. 05 NEW DELHI 6596  Q. 05 NEW DELHI 5165  R. 05 MUMBAI 1688  S. 05 NEW DELHI 3647  T. 04 NEW DELHI 878  U. 04 NEW DELHI 877  V. 04 NEW DELHI 876
Classified By: Charge Bob Blake for Reasons 1.4 (B, D)
1. (C) Summary: The US-India counterterrorism dialogue reflects our shared values and encompasses the range of CT issues in South Asia. New Delhi focuses on combating jihadi terrorism launched from Pakistan, which complicates USG efforts to engage Delhi in a more vibrant intelligence dialogue without compromising relations with Islamabad. The GOI is less concerned with discussing Naxalite (Maoist agrarian peasant movement) or ethno-linguistic separatist terrorism in India’s Northeast states. The GOI’s focus also remains on here-and-now terrorism vice more exotic and more potentially devastating variants such as bio-terrorism and WMD-terrorism. The exception here is on cyber-terrorism/cybersecurity, where the growing financial and prestige value of India’s IT sector is helping energize positive interactions. India’s large Muslim population, and that community’s relatively positive relations with its Hindu majority, also offer insights on how we can more effectively engage in the battle of ideas against violent extremism within a democratic, pluralistic society.
2. (C) Since the August 2004 CTJWG, the GOI has moved forward with counterterrorism legislation and policy, including on terrorist finance and hijackings, but we still have gaps in our understanding of how these new procedures will be implemented. India has a vast capacity to absorb USG counterterrorism training; although we see Indian security services replicating the training they receive, our challenge now is to rationalize the training the USG offers to ensure it meets mutually-agreed goals. There is also ample room to expand information and intelligence sharing between the USG and GOI, but much will depend on the degree to which US priorities align with Indian goals. Overcoming the lingering effects of decades of mutual mistrust is also essential. Embassy New Delhi has had some experience with working under the US-India Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) that came
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into force in October; there is room here too for improvement. Top GOI officials have publicly expressed their strong interest in India becoming a member of the Egmont Group and the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). This message also includes information on other terrorism-related topics that the GOI delegation may reference, either in the formal CTJWG or in side-meetings.
3. (C) Since the last CTJWG a host of bilateral interactions, including disaster cooperation (the December 2004 tsunami and the October 2005 earthquake), foreign policy alignment (on Nepal and Afghanistan), the Defense Framework Agreement, the July 18 nuclear agreement, and the President’s visit capped off by the civil nuclear deal, have brought the two countries much closer together in a variety of venues. Our CT bureaucracies and security services, however, lag behind growing bilateral movement on trade, energy and scientific cooperation, but the background atmospherics are encouraging. We now need to foster new thinking in Delhi and Washington that will advance our common CT agendas faster than before possible. End Summary.
CT Bureaucratics
4. (S) The MEA has the lead on international CT cooperation, with Additional Secretary (International Organizations) KC Singh the GOI’s interlocutor (Ref K). On-the-ground CT activity at the national level is the bailiwick of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), however. In some instances, such as on the 2005 offer of an Itemizer to help secure the Srinagar-Muzzafarabad bus, we have been quietly told by our MEA interlocutors that MHA objections made certain CT cooperation impossible. (NOTE: Our inability to engage MHA on policy matters leaves us with solely the MEA’s word on such occasions. End Note.) The Intelligence Bureau (IB) and Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) compete on CT intelligence issues; the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the FBI-equivalent, is the national-level law enforcement agency.  Most CT activities, from security to investigation and prosecution, happen at the state level, however, and the various states and Union Territories exhibit varying (typically low) levels of cooperation amongst each other and with the federal government. The National Security Council Secretariat, which enjoys a wealth of subject-matter experts
SIPDIS (vice the rest of the Indian bureaucracy, which dramatically shifts portfolios every few years), is worth pursuing in areas within their scope, such as cybersecurity (see Para 20), as well as other areas they (or NSA Narayanan) seek to add to their mandate.
Threat Assessment: Priority on Jihadis
5. (C) Terrorism conducted by jihadi groups based in Pakistan -- and sometimes with the support of elements of the GOP -- is historically the most lethal and the most politically volatile strain of terrorism in India. Reflecting improved counterinsurgency policies, civilian fatalities from terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir have
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substantially decreased from 2001-2004 (approximately 20% decrease each year), according to Indian government statistics and a leading independent Indian terrorism expert.  The data for the first nine months of 2005 showed a continued decline, but a spike in lethal attacks after the October 8 earthquake resulted in the 2005 levels being roughly equal to those for 2004. Since January 2005, jihadis have carried out or are believed to be responsible for lethal attacks at three popular markets on Diwali (Ref N) and Jamma Masjid (Septel), both in Delhi, as well as Ayodhya (Ref Q), Varanasi (Ref F), and Bangalore (Ref J), in addition to the litany of deadly bombings and shootings in J&K itself. These new targets in the Hindi heartland and the south reflect a new and dangerous trend that bears close watching.
6. (C) Kashmiri terrorist groups made numerous attacks on elected Indian and Kashmiri politicians, targeted civilians in public areas, and attacked security forces, killing more than 500 civilians in 2005, most of whom were Kashmiri Muslims. Attacks continued in 2006, with democracy in Kashmir a primary focus. Candidates and elected officials were attacked and murdered, and terrorists apparently prioritized deterring Kashmiris from voting. Coordinated attacks on several sites in central Srinagar on April 16 underlined terrorists’ opposition to April 24 state assembly by-elections (Septel). Foreign Terrorist Organizations Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), at times operating through front names from camps in Pakistan, claimed responsibility for many of these attacks. Some of these groups maintain ties with al-Qaida, although the Indian government takes pride in claiming there is no direct al-Qaida presence in the country outside of Kashmir.
Threat Assessment: Naxals a Rising Threat
7. (SBU) Indian terrorism analysts -- in some respects more so than the GOI -- are concerned that Naxal terrorism, which covers a broad region of Eastern, Central, and Southern India, is growing in sophistication and lethality and will be a significant long-term challenge. Unlike terrorists in Kashmir, these Naxalite groups are not dependent on support from outside India; the GOI and independent experts assess that Naxals purchase some weapons from Nepalese Maoists, but (per the GOI) “the relationship is commercial, not ideological” (Septel). The Naxals, such as those in the Communist Party of India-Maoist, also are moving toward a more unified command system than the plethora of small jihadi groups that co-exist alongside LeT and JeM. Furthermore, while jihadis are expanding their area of operations to conduct attacks, particularly in cities, Naxals are expanding the area of (rural) territory they effectively control (i.e. collect taxes, adjudicate disputes, etc.).
8. (SBU) Naxal groups often target Indian security forces vice civilians. However, in West Bengal, they have targeted members of the state ruling Communist Party of India (Marxist), who are considered an ideological competitor by the Maoist Naxalites. Overall deaths due to Naxal violence have remained relatively constant at approximately 500-600
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annually in recent years. The two primary Naxalite groups in 2004 combined to form the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist); this construct continues to hold. PM Singh on April 13 publicly called Naxalism “the single biggest internal security challenge” at a conclave of the chief ministers of the Naxal-affected states; how effective the GOI and the state governments are in stemming this threat remains to be seen.
9. (SBU) In September 2005, the Indian Home Ministry and the senior elected and bureaucratic officials from the 12 Naxal-affected states (Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, and West Bengal) created an Interstate Task Force to streamline regional anti-Naxal operations. The GOI is also modernizing the weapons and equipment for state police forces in Naxal-affected areas.
Threat Assessment: Northeast Terrorism Not a GOI Priority
--------------------------------------------- ------------ 
10. (SBU) Terrorism in India’s Northeast states (Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Mizoram, Manipur, Nagaland, Tripura, and Meghalaya) consists of many groups -- some of which maintain bases in Bangladesh, according to GOI and Indian media reports -- that are small in number compared to other terrorist organizations in India, and their reach does not extend out of the region. Civilian deaths due to terrorism in the Northeast have been declining in recent years, according to Indian government data and a leading independent Indian terrorism expert. For 2005, between 300 and 350 civilians were killed in Northeast terrorism. This variant of Indian terrorism, like Naxalism, attracts little attention from Delhi.
Why the GOI Focuses on the Jihadis
11. (C) The GOI does not focus on Naxalite or Northeast terrorism with the intensity it devotes to jihadi terrorists, probably for a combination of the following reasons:
-- Attacks by Naxalites and Northeast groups remain confined to rural areas far from New Delhi.
-- The Naxals generally target security forces vice civilians.
-- The Naxals lack external support, which makes them a purely Indian problem, something the GOI cannot blame on other countries; the GOI blames Pakistan and Bangladesh as instigators/supporters of jihadi terrorism, and Bangladesh for also allowing Northeast terrorists support or, at minimum, safe haven. The GOI can and does exploit these links to attract international sympathy (and partial absolution) for its own domestic governance and border security short-comings.
-- Because Naxalites and Northeast groups are treated as domestic issues, they are largely handled by the individual
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states in which these groups operate. The GOI over the past year has tried to tie together the anti-Naxal efforts of the “Naxal-affected states,” but to no discernible effect thus far, and the states lack the capacity to mount an effective response to the problem.
-- The most likely solutions to the problems posed by the Naxal and Northeast groups involve improving local/state governance and economic opportunity, a difficult and long-term solution for New Delhi and the affected states to effect.
Extraterritorial Dimensions of Terrorism in India
--------------------------------------------- ---- 
12. (C) Pakistan: The prominent place jihadi terrorism plays in India’s threat perception is a significant irritant in Indo-Pakistan relations. Recent GOI public statements and Indian media suggest Delhi believes cross-border infiltration in March-April dropped significantly, perhaps nearly to zero in March largely due to severe snow conditions, but skeptics remain throughout the Indian bureaucracy and security services. Most of our GOI interlocutors believe Islamabad opens and closes the spigot of cross-border terrorism to influence other aspects of bilateral affairs and to keep “the Kashmir issue” on the front burner. NSA Narayanan in March told the UK High Commissioner he was less worried about LoC infiltration than he was about Pakistani intelligence support for terrorist modules elsewhere in India -- such as the cells responsible for the Delhi and Bangalore attacks (Ref G). Another growing concern is that jihadis are infiltrating into Northeast India from Nepal and Bangladesh.
13. (C) Bangladesh: The GOI for years has insisted that Northeast terrorist groups and, more recently, Pakistani jihadi groups maintain bases on Dhaka’s side of the Indo-Bangladesh border, and infiltrate across the lengthy, unfenced boundary back and forth at will, owing to a combination of poor governance, conducive terrain, bribery, and/or GOB facilitation (or, at minimum, willfully ignoring Delhi’s pleas) (Refs D, T-V).
14. (C) Nepal: As noted above, the GOI does not believe that domestic Naxals and Nepalese Maoists maintain any significant operational links, except for some commercial arms sales from the Nepalese to the Naxals. Nepalese Maoists, however, appear to enjoy relatively free movement within Naxal-held areas in India along the 1,700 km open border. While we frequently hear reports of Nepalese Maoist leaders (including the Number 1 and Number 2 Prachanda and Baburam Bhattarai) spending long periods of time in India with leftist sympathizers, the GOI has assured us repeatedly that it gives no quarter to Nepalese Maoists, and several high-ranking Maoists are being held in Indian jails.
15. (C) The GOI also regularly tells us that Kathmandu, including the airport, has become an operations hub for Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI)-supported terrorists, in large part due to its soft border with India. Our interlocutors tell us the RGON turns a blind eye to
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Delhi’s complaints on this matter.
Bioterrorism not on Delhi’s Radar ...
16. (C) Few Indians -- GOI, think-tanks, etc. -- are concerned about bioterrorism (Septel). They generally view it as an over-the-horizon issue, whereas RDX and AK-47s exist in the here-and-now. Some terrorism analysts, including South Asia Terrorism Portal editor Ajai Sahni, chalk this up to the “Panipat Syndrome” (NOTE: According to India’s preeminent strategic thinker K Subrahmanyam, in three separate decisive battles, Indian empires declined to defend themselves against Western invaders by reinforcing strategic choke-points like the Khyber Pass. They instead waited for the advancing force to reach Panipat -- a town only 40 miles from Delhi, and over 450 miles after penetrating the Khyber -- before reacting. “Then mad panic and ineffectiveness, followed by a crushing defeat. A devastating lack of strategic sense, either in offense or defense.” End Note). One terrorism scholar who has edited three Indian books on bio-terrorism told us that his books sell relatively well in the US and Western Europe, but not in India. The Home and Health Ministries are lead agencies in this field, with the Agriculture Ministry a possible player as well.
17. (C) Controls at bio-tech facilities are weak to non-existent, making India’s large industrial capacity a potential source of hazardous bio-materials if not bio-weapons. That said, bio-terrorism would at most appeal to the larger jihadi terrorist groups (i.e. LeT and JeM). Naxals and Northeast separatist terrorists rely more heavily on local support, their area of operations is limited to the territory they seek to “liberate,” and they lack operational reach into Delhi, all factors that suggest they would not seek to employ bio-terrorism. In a sign of latent awareness of this threat, however, the National Institute of Virology in Pune will hold a biosecurity workshop May 2-4 with the cooperation of Sandia National Labs.
... Nor is WMD Terrorism
18. (C) Many of the same factors at play within the GOI and terrorist groups active in India regarding bio-terrorism also relate to WMD terrorism more broadly. We have seen little evidence of GOI interest or planning on the potential of WMD terrorism. In fact, outside of a few New Delhi think tanks, there appears to be no discourse on this topic whatsoever, with the exception of occasional (and, to Mission’s knowledge, unfounded) speculation on whether the AQ Khan proliferation network may have supplied nuclear materials to jihadi groups or al-Qaida. Many of the nuclear non-proliferation measures that the GOI has undertaken, such as harmonization of its export controls with the NSG/MTCR and installation of CSI at the Mumbai Port, also help prevent terrorists from acquiring or shipping WMD-related items.
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19. (C) Cyber-security, by contrast, is an increasing source of Indian concern and focus. India hosts a significant number of high-tech professionals, many of whom possess the skills to effect cyber-terrorism; however, reports of “cyber-terrorism” in India have heretofore related only to defacement of GOI websites. We have seen no credible information about terrorist groups attempting to execute cyber-terrorists acts, although some groups are undoubtedly interested, and jihadi groups particularly are understood to use e-mail, Internet chat services, and other digital communications platforms. That said, India’s increasingly remote-controlled critical infrastructure (energy generation, transportation, water and sanitation, communications, etc.) present tempting targets for tech-savvy terrorists.
20. (C) The National Security Council Secretariat is the lead agency on cybersecurity and cyber-terrorism, and The Mission’s NSCS interlocutors have been both knowledgeable about potential threats, energetic about trying to head them off, and open to bilateral assistance to protect critical systems, all pleasant surprises compared to our overall dealings with the GOI. The US-India Cybersecurity Forum, launched in 2000 as an outgrowth of our CT cooperation, now evinces frequent and robust interaction at both the policymaker and technical levels (Refs H, I, and L). The NSCS is keen to engage in new subject areas, including protection of the above listed critical infrastructure services. Given this positive interaction and the fact that the NSCS largely employs subject-matter experts vice generalists, it might be useful to pursue NSCS branching out into other areas of USG interest, such as bio- and WMD-terrorism, in the hope that we can replicate the progress we have enjoyed in cybersecurity.
Waging the “Battle of Ideas”
21. (C) We can learn a great deal from India’s management of its large society to minimize extremist ideologies. India enjoys a democratic, multi-religious, multi-cultural, heterogeneous, multi-ethnic society where all major world religions are practiced freely. Isolated elements of religious extremism of many varieties have, however, occurred in India -- notably among Hindus, Muslims, and Sikhs -- although extremists as a whole are by far outnumbered by “secular” moderates. In the Indian context, “secularism” is synonymous with tolerance for all faiths, and does not imply life devoid of religion, although religious freedom -- including atheism -- is protected and guaranteed by the Constitution and a long history of court precedent. At a time when many nations appear to be losing ground to extremist movements, India’s trendlines are pointing in the right direction, bolstered by strong indigenous traditions of communal co-habitation, non-violent political protest, a free press, and a realization by politicians that religious hatred is not a vote getter among the increasingly savvy, globalized, and prosperous Indian electorate. Nevertheless, the risk always remains of isolated outbreaks of sectarian violence, especially in response to the terrorism that has
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plagued India for decades, or when provoked by regional politicians for their narrow political purposes (for example, the recently passed anti-conversion legislation in Rajasthan, see Refs A and C).
22. (C) Mission India executes robust and forward leaning programming designed to counter extremist ideologies (Ref O).  We provide numerous exchange, educational, and outreach programs to counter extremism, primarily through the Front Office, PA, POL, and USAID. A special public diplomacy effort is made to engage with Indian Muslims, including young students and other young people, and to foster interfaith dialogue among India’s multi-cultural and multi-religious communities. Front Office, PA, and POL officers provide critical personal and media interaction to perpetuate the USG message of moderation and tolerance. Our outreach ranges from one-on-one engagement with elites to press interviews to mass-audience interaction to overcome misperceptions and stereotypes. We also monitor and report trends in religious extremism.
Terrorist Finance and Anti-Money Laundering Legislation
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23. (SBU) India’s Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), which came into effect in July 2005, allows for the freezing, confiscation and seizure of instrumentalities used in, or intended for use in, terrorist financing in limited circumstances, and provides the statutory basis for setting up India’s Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU). However, it does not cover properties, including non-cash assets, that are intended to be used by an individual terrorist, or property of corresponding value.
24. (SBU) The PMLA also aims to combat money laundering in India and allows for confiscation and seizure of the property obtained from laundered money, but only when there is a conviction of a predicate offense. The PMLA stipulates that whoever directly or indirectly attempts to indulge or knowingly assist, or is knowingly a party, or is actually involved in any process or activity connected with the proceeds of crime and projecting it as untainted property, shall be guilty of offenses of money-laundering. (For an in-depth assessment of the PMLA and the FIU, please see Ref B.)
25. (SBU) Top GOI officials have publicly expressed their strong interest in India becoming a member of the Egmont Group and the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). India’s Finance Ministry hosted a FATF delegation on April 12-13 whose purpose was to determine if India should be granted FATF observer status (Septel). The US Treasury Department’s FINCEN and the FIU are considering reciprocal visits for May-July. Levels of cooperation are not where we would like them to be, although the trend lines are encouraging.
Airline/Airport Security and Anti-Hijacking Policy
--------------------------------------------- ----- 
26. (C) We have significant gaps in our understanding of how
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far the GOI has come in operationalizing its new anti-hijacking policy since it was unveiled in August 2005 (Ref P). Our understanding, based on Indian press articles, is that the Indian Air Force (IAF) is now allowed to counter a 9/11-like attempt to use aircraft as weapons of mass destruction by shooting them down; airport ground crews are directed (not simply “permitted”) to attempt to keep a grounded, hijacked aircraft on the tarmac; and negotiators are restricted in what they can offer terrorists in a hostage situation. The opacity of the Home Ministry has been a significant obstacle in learning more; our British counterparts here report similar difficulty in getting to the ground truths here. Some of the questions that warrant probing include:
-- More specifics on how the GOI will accommodate foreign aircraft, including if a foreign plane is hijacked while in Indian airspace.
-- What additional equipment or training Indian entities will require, and if there are opportunities for USG training and American firms.
-- How first responders will prioritize between timeliness and chain-of-command in trying to make difficult decisions.
27. (SBU) The recent launch of two direct Delhi-US flights (Continental and American) and the expected announcement of several more such routes make this discussion of hijacking protocols particularly important.
ATA Training
28. (SBU) Forensics is weak in India -- only two DNA labs service the entire country. Few police officers outside major cities are trained in safeguarding and exploiting electronic data, although this capacity is expanding under indigenous cybersecurity training and cooperative training with US government agencies. As a consequence, terrorism investigations and court cases tend to rely upon confessions, many of which are obtained under duress if not beatings, threats, or, in some cases, torture. These factors, along with a creaky and corrupt judiciary, contribute to cases lingering in the courts for years.
29. (SBU) India is a voracious consumer of ATA training, having digested 42 courses involving 900 Indian security officials and accepting some $10 million in equipment transfers since 1995. The sheer size of India’s police, paramilitary, and other security agencies at the state and federal levels, however, guarantees that an abundance of first responders and investigators will be behind the training curve. Our goal here is to rationalize ATA training to create a more coherent syllabus that would address specific Indian security needs, in cooperation with the GOI and (ideally) with India’s other CT partners to avoid duplication of efforts. RSO notes Indian security agencies are enthusiastic about receiving ATA training and graduates are being tasked with replicating courses, which they appear
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to be doing effectively (Ref E). Other encouraging news is that course graduates include officers who have since been promoted to senior ranks and a recent recipient of the President’s Police Medal of Gallantry.
Information/Intelligence Sharing: Lost/Stolen Passports
--------------------------------------------- ---------- 
30. (SBU) The GOI has heretofore been reluctant in sharing its database of lost and stolen passports with INTERPOL, a move which would greatly increase INTERPOL’s database (and therefore our own). This CTJWG, coming more than 18 months after the prior JWG, will be an ideal time to reiterate this request. This has been an important initiative of the Bureau of Consular Affairs, and an issue CA Assistant Secretary Maura Harty raised at senior levels during visits to India in 2005. The US routinely provides its lost and stolen passport data to Interpol as a means of sharing this information with other nations, and India should, too.
Information/Intelligence Sharing: Investigations
--------------------------------------------- --- 
31. (SBU) While RSO’s liaison with the Indian police is adequate, there is room for improvement. The Indian bureaucracy stalls many investigative requests with demands for written letters to various offices, additional approvals, and the failure to pass correspondences between Indian law enforcement agencies. The GOI requires many US Embassy sections and agencies to work directly with national-level counterparts; however, the RSOs are free from this restriction and are able to interact with both the local and national police agencies throughout India. RSO and other Embassy law enforcement elements must often pass investigative requests between Indian law enforcement agencies, acting as the middle man, although the use of personal “unofficial” contacts can sometimes expedite an investigation.
Information/Intelligence Sharing: Tactical Threat Reporting
--------------------------------------------- -------------- 
32. (S/NF) RSO sends the majority of threat information investigative requests to the New Delhi Police Department’s Special Cell, which is the primary law enforcement entity in New Delhi tasked with the investigation of terrorist activity and major case investigations. As with all investigative efforts in India the office is only as good as its local contacts; the RSO often has greater success by discreetly contacting a local officer in the Special Cell in lieu of sending in an official request, many of which are not acted upon. RSO receives very little follow-up information from Delhi police after a terrorist attack, such as the status of the police investigations or efforts to apprehend suspects; the information RSO does receive is usually already available in the media.
33. (S/NF) RSO has found that the sharing of tactical threat information with Delhi police is woefully lacking. RSO and the Emergency Action Committee (EAC) have been pushing the
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GOI, to date unsuccessfully, to establish a liaison position that would serve as a real-time clearinghouse for threat information and coordinating responses to imminent threats. Post would appreciate if this request could be raised again during the CTWG.
34. (SBU) As noted above, much CT activity happens at the state level. India’s lack of a national crime database seriously inhibits CT analysis and cooperation among the states and between states and the federal security services (CBI and IB), and allows terrorists to potentially take advantage of crossing from one jurisdiction to another to escape detection and broaden their attack patterns.
MLAT Implementation
35. (SBU) The US-India MLAT came into effect in October 2005. In November, the USG requested GOI assistance under MLAT regarding a joint DEA-Indian Narcotics Control Board (NCB) investigation -- the DEA requested that the NCB provide documentary evidence and testimony from an NCB officer for the criminal trial in the US of a co-conspirator in a case involving Internet pharmaceuticals trade. The GOI in February 2006 provided documentary evidence that was forwarded to the US, but the request for an NCB officer to testify was not honored despite repeated high-level interventions by the Embassy, and there has been no official explanation why the officer was not sent to the US. Informal feedback received by DEA indicates the GOI is unclear on whether MLAT covers this type of request. It will be important to schedule formal implementation talks soon, either in Washington, or probably most effectively in New Delhi. DOJ’s office of International Affairs will likely have the lead in this area.
Other Issues the GOI May Raise
36. (C) IC-814: Repeated GOI demarches last year seeking information on the December 1999 IC-814 hijackers suggest that some CT interlocutors Delhi believe the USG has additional information or access that could be useful in the trial of the hijackers, several of whom are being tried in absentia (Refs M and S). We have provided considerable information in response to GOI requests. This is an issue that largely remains dormant but flares up from time to time, and the GOI may view the CTJWG as an opportunity to renew its request.
37. (C) Dawood Ibrahim: Mumbai crime boss and Specially Designated Global Terrorist Dawood Ibrahim is wanted by Indian police for having planned and financed thirteen explosions in Mumbai in 1993 that killed almost 300 civilians; he reportedly now lives in Pakistan and the UAE, an assertion bolstered by periodic reporting in Pakistan news magazines (see below). He is also wanted for arms smuggling, counterfeiting, narcotics trafficking, murder, and other criminal matters. Dawood’s daughter’s July 2005 high-profile wedding reception brazenly took place at the Grand Hyatt
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Hotel in Dubai, and was the more recent rubbing of salt in this festering sore (Ref R).
38. (C) The “List of 20”: The prior (Vajpayee) government had sent to Islamabad a request to extradite twenty terrorists and criminals that many in the GOI believe reside in Pakistan. The list includes the leaders of JeM, LeT and Hizbul Mujahedeen; Dawood Ibrahim and six members of his criminal organization, including several the GOI linked to the 1993 Mumbai bomb blasts or a conspiracy to kill former Home Minister LK Advani; four terrorists wanted for their roles in the IC-814 hijacking; and five Khalistani (Sikh separatist) terrorists. When in power, the BJP government used phe “List of 20” as a club with which to publicly beat Pakistan; the current UPA government has only recently revived the issue, and then in the less political context of a law enforcement bilateral. However, one of our main CT interlocutors, Ajai Sahni, told us recently that “the best thing Pakistan could do is to turn those guys over to the Indian government, but Delhi would undoubtedly make a hash of it.”
Comment: Opportunity to Move Ahead
39. (C) This JWG offers an opportunity much like the July 18 agreement to set ambitious goals and strive to meet them. The challenge is to build on recent successes in the broader bilateral relationship to move our counterterrorism agenda forward at a faster pace and to a deeper end. Critical to this effort is a GOI decision to boost intel exchange if we are to move beyond rhetoric in our CT relationship. Mission Station Chief will participate in the CTJWG meetings and brief Mr. Crumpton beforehand. BLAKE