US info helped India protect targets during 2010 Pune bombing

  • Sanjib Kr Baruah, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
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  • Updated: Apr 08, 2013 21:18 IST

It was intelligence information shared by United States with India that prevented certain sensitive targets like Chabad House and Osho Ashram in Pune from being targeted and instead left the terrorists with no alternative but to go after a soft target during the Pune bombing of February 13, 2010.

The revelation came in an acknowledgement in a meeting between National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon and US Congressional delegate senator Claire McCaskill who had gone to condole the deaths in the attack a few days later on February 17, a Wikileaks release revealed.

The confidential-marked diplomatic cable that was sent by Timothy John Roemer, the then US ambassador in India to Washington, said: "Menon credited intelligence shared by the US with helping prompt the Indian government to protect targets in the vicinity of the attack, such as the Chabad House and Osho Ashram, perhaps leaving the terrorists no alternative but to go after a soft target instead."

Chabad House is a Jewish socio-cultural institution while Osho Ashram is a centre to impart Osho Rajneesh's teachings. Foreigners in huge numbers frequent both.

The blast at Pune's German Bakery killed 17 people and injured about 64. The attack is suspected to be the handiwork of Indian Mujaheedin (IM) as a part of the Karachi Project, a plan by Lashkar-e-Taiba to use 'home-grown' Indians in terror attacks.

In another cable sent by Roemer after a visit to the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited  (HAL) factory in Bengaluru on February 24, 2010, he talks about the poor safety working conditions of the workers. Stating that India was two or three decades behind the US in defence production, he wrote to Washington: "The assembly work was being done almost entirely by hand, with no evidence of any automated production processes."

"Safety precautions appeared to be minimal, with many of the workers wearing short-sleeved shirts and no respiratory or eye protection or while they applied paint, sealant, or rivets."

Roemer also said that the HAL's potential to successfully partner with US firms on advanced aircraft remained "untested and suspect".


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