In a string of cables around the first anniversary of the 2008 terrorist attacks, the US consulate in Mumbai questioned Maharashtra leaderships’ ability to prevent a repeat, and doubted police’s “professional competence”.
“For most of the time since 26/11, Maharashtra’s politicians engaged in fraternal infighting, electioneering, and horse-trading over the spoils of office,” said a classified report sent to state department in November 2009.
These cables were written shortly after the Congress-NCP coalition was elected for another term, and Ashok Chavan was the chief minister, replacing Vilasrao Deshmukh. Chavan has since been replaced too.
These cables were among the many revealed by the transparency website Wikileaks over the last few days. The US has refused to comment on them, and has put on trial army officer Brad Manning for leaking these documents.
In another cable, the consulate reports the decline of Mumbai as a centre for innovation and industry and says Maharashtra is failing to keep up with other states in attracting investments and businesses.
The blame is squarely put on the political leadership.
“By all accounts, Maharashtra has lacked good political leadership for almost two decades. The last ten years of Congress/NCP rule has been marked by an inability to implement major development or infrastructure programs,” says one cable.
Citing conversations with businesses, another cable said, “Political leaders devote most of their time to the politics of remaining in office instead of developing and implementing development and economic policies.”
The consulate’s next targeted the police saying its professional competence is questionable, it lacks the trust of most Mumbai residents and has made little or no inroads into the Muslim community. And it remains poorly equipped. The new boats given to the police to prevent another attack from the sea, the consulate said quoting a retired admiral, were “riverine boats, not coastal boats”.