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http://wikileaks.org/cable/2007/08/07MANILA2601.html#
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07MANILA2601
2007-08-02 05:44
2011-08-30 01:44
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Manila

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C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 MANILA 002601

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STATE FOR D, AND EAP

E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/08/2027
TAGS: ASEAN ETRD PREL PARM TSRL KNNP ETTC ENRG TRGY
AF, IR, PK, IN, RP
SUBJECT: THE DEPUTY SECRETARY’S MEETING WITH INDIAN EAM PRANAB MUKHERJEE

MANILA 00002601 001.2 OF 003

Classified By: Deputy Secretary Negroponte, reasons 1.4 c, d

¶1. (C) Summary: The U.S.-India relationship has entered a
“new stage” in the post-123 Agreement era, Deputy Secretary
Negroponte and Indian External Affairs Minister (EAM) Pranab
Mukherjee agreed in an August 1 meeting on the sidelines of
the ASEAN Ministerial in Manila. Addressing Indian concerns
about support for the U.S.-India nuclear deal in Congress,
the Deputy Secretary reaffirmed U.S. commitment to work with
Congress to bring the deal to a conclusion, hopefully by the
end of this year. He emphasized our desire to continue our
dialogue with India on a broad range of issues, but cautioned
against “conducting business as usual” with Iran,
particularly on the proposed Iran-Pakistan-India gas
pipeline. Mukherjee expressed concern over Iran, comparing
it to a bomb that would either detonate or be diffused, and
suggested that international engagement, especially through
the IAEA, would be the best way to proceed. We need an
“out-of-the-box solution” to the problem of Iran, he
emphasized. End Summary.

BEYOND THE NUCLEAR DEAL
———————–

¶2. (C) Welcoming the post-123 Agreement era as a “new stage”
in the U.S.-India relationship, Indian External Affairs
Minister Pranab Mukherjee expressed gratitude to the U.S. for
taking “extra care and responsibility” in shepherding the
deal, in an August 1 meeting with Deputy Secretary Negroponte
on the sidelines of the ASEAN Ministerial. The Deputy
Secretary responded that the U.S. looks forward to continuing

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our dialogue with India on many subjects, and noted that the
nuclear agreement is just one indication of the positive
direction in which the relationship in moving.

¶3. (C) Mukherjee expressed some concern about how the
nuclear deal would fare in Congress, asking the Deputy
Secretary whether there would be a “stiffening of positions”

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in light of the upcoming U.S. presidential elections. He
asked what steps the USG planned to take in order to maintain
bipartisan support for the deal in Congress during an
election year.

¶4. (C) The Deputy Secretary emphasized that India has “the
full support” of the President, Secretary and entire
Executive Branch. “I assure you that we will work with
Congress to get this done,” he reiterated, noting the nuclear
deal would not come before Congress until India had reached
an agreement with the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) for an
“India exception,” and with the IAEA on nuclear reprocessing
safeguards. Once India reaches an agreement with the NSG and
IAEA it will be easier to make the case to Congress, he said,
adding that we hope this is concluded by the end of this
year.

¶5. (C) Mukherjee welcomed U.S. assistance, observing that
since the NSG is a large group, there will likely be “a
divergence of opinions.” India is eager to ensure that the
guidelines are amended so that the “complete benefit” of the
nuclear deal can be achieved, he said.

IRAN: “NO PROGRESS” ON GAS PIPELINE
————————————-

¶6. (C) Cautioning Mukherjee that “there will be attention”
on India’s relationship with Iran, the Deputy Secretary noted
that the proposed Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline would be a
“problematic factor in U.S. policy.”

MANILA 00002601 002.2 OF 003

¶7. (C) Responding to these concerns, Mukherjee downplayed
plans for the pipeline, stating that “apart from discussions
about the price of gas that would come through the pipeline,
there has been no other progress.” There are “lots of stages
to overcome” before the pipeline becomes a reality, he
emphasized, musing that “no one knows what the final outcome
will be.”

¶8. (C) Mukherjee explained that Iran had quoted a price at
which they would be willing to sell gas at the
Pakistan-Afghanistan border. India’s understanding was that
Pakistan would then add a fee to cover the transit over its
territory, based on ‘normal business considerations,’ he
said. India then learned that Pakistan planned to levy
additional charges on top of the cost of transit. Mukherjee
reiterated that India was only considering the prices
proposed by Iran and Pakistan and had not yet agreed to
anything. “A group of experts” is currently examining the
pricing issue, and exploring possible funding arrangements
with international financial institutions should the project
move forward, he stated.

¶9. (C) Responding to these remarks, the Deputy Secretary
again cautioned India on “business as usual with Iran,”
describing Tehran as an “across-the-board adversary in the
Middle East.” An emboldened Iran has moved ahead with
nuclear enrichment in violation of their international
commitments under the NPT and Security Council resolutions,
he continued. They are doing everything to frustrate the
possibility of Middle East peace, supporting extremist groups
in Lebanon, Gaza, and Afghanistan, and it would be through
this lens that Congress would view India’s relations with
Iran.

¶10. (C) Describing Iran’s behavior as a “source of
concern,” Mukherjee noted that India has “made it
abundantly clear” that Tehran must uphold its obligations
under the NPT. India is not a signatory to the NPT but has
voluntarily accepted some of the NPT obligations, he stated,
reiterating that India has “no quarrel” with the objectives
of non-proliferation. He added that India has urged Tehran
to comply with Security Council resolutions as well, but “we
have not been able to soften their attitude.” He said he had
also raised New Delhi’s concerns with his counterparts at the
Asia Europe Meeting (ASEM) in Hamburg in May 2007, while at
home, India’s relationship with Iran has been a subject of
debate in Parliament. Highlighting India’s strategic
interests in Iran’s neighborhood, Mukherjee stated that
two-thirds of India’s petroleum requirement comes from Iran,
that “we have civilizational ties with them,” and that 4.5
million Indians live in the Middle East, making peace and
stability in the region a matter of importance.

IAEA “APROPRIATE AUTHORITY” TO ENGAGE IRAN
——————————————

¶11. (C) Comparing Iran to a bomb, Mukherjee observed that
“an explosive state cannot remain forever — it either needs
to be defused, or there is a danger that it will explode at
any moment.” So far, no one has been able to find a way to
move forward, he said, arguing that there is “no question of
finding a resolution through bilateral or trilateral
discussions.” He emphasized that we must think collectively
about how to avoid a crisis with Iran and identified the IAEA
as the appropriate authority to engage Iran on its
obligations, and as the best forum for these issues to be
discussed. Mukherjee stated that we need an out-of-the-box

MANILA 00002601 003.2 OF 003

solution from the international community to address issues
of global concern, like Iran as well as securing the Malacca
Strait. These issues are best resolved collectively, he
said, adding that some countries may give advice while others
must take tough positions.

AFGHANISTAN
————

¶12. (C) Mukherjee expressed concern over the activities of
the Taliban in Afghanistan, stating that Taliban actions have
disrupted India’s various humanitarian projects there.
Recalling the 2005 kidnapping and murder of three Indian
contractors working on a portion of the Zaranj-Delaram road,
and the recent deaths of South Korean hostages, he noted that
the Taliban is not sparing anyone. Mukherjee also
highlighted Indian activities in Afghanistan, underlining
India’s construction of two roads, the Parliament building,
and a transmission line, as well as distribution of enriched
biscuits to over 1 million children. India’s financial
contribution to the reconstruction of Afghanistan totals more
than USD 750 million, he reported. Finally, Mukherjee noted
with concern the apparent rise in terrorism in the region
since 9/11, both in Afghanistan and in Pakistan. Since the
recent Red Mosque operation, Pakistan has seen a suicide bomb
attack nearly every day, he said.

¶13. (U) August 1, 2007; 1000-1030; Manila, Philippines.

¶14. (U) Meeting Participants:

U.S.
Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte
Kaye Lee, Special Assistant to the Deputy Secretary
Ted Wittenstein, Special Assistant to the Deputy Secretary
Siriana Nair, Notetaker

INDIA
External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee
¶N. Ravi, Secretary (East)
K C Singh, Additional Secretary (IO)
Rajeet Mitter, Ambassador to the Philippines
Biren Nanda, Joint Secretary (South)
Vikram Misri, Director (EAMO)
Pradeep Gupta, Minister’s Office
Tsewang Namgyal, Notetaker

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KENNEY

   

 

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