IC-814 hijacking an “ignominy, defeat” for India

The Americans considered the hijacking of the IC-814 to Kandahar and the subsequent release of Islamic Terrorists “an ignominious decision, and defeat” on the part of India, according to new cables released by Wikileaks.

The cable also shows that in 2005, the Indian external affairs ministry did not mind putting stress on the relations between the two countries to force the US to share information about the hijackers, who, it believed, was in US custody.

“Jaishankar [Joint Secretary in ministry of external affairs] is clearly testing the limits of our transformed relations,” noted Charge D’Affairs Robert Blake in 2005, pointing out that it would be better to simply say ‘No’ to the Indians than to prolong the agony.

He pointed out that the two countries have already had a long exchange of notes and papers regarding Indian demands for information about Mansoor Akhtar, ex-Civil Aviation Minister in the Taliban Government of Afghanistan, and Akhtar Usmani, the Taliban corps commander in Kandahar. India firmly believed that the two were captured by the Americans after they attacked Afghanistan in the aftermath of the World Trade Center attack.

“We need to bring an end this ongoing cycle of requests (Refs A-E), and a clear negative response would be preferable to perpetuating a fruitless dialogue.

“The FBI has reportedly exhausted its ability to cooperate, and we should directly inform both CBI and MEA to that effect, with specific confirmation on what evidence is or is not in US possession,” Blake noted in related cable.

“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… If they [hijackers] are in US detention, we should grant Indian access or share information we have gleaned on the IC-814 hijacking,” he added.