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26/11 torpoedoed hopes of improvement in Indo-Pak ties: US

world Updated: Dec 03, 2010 13:49 IST

As 10 LeT terrorists laid siege to Mumbai in November 2008, the top US diplomat in Islamabad told her government that the carnage by Pakistan-based terrorists torpedoed any hope of improvement in relationship between India and Pakistan.

In a cable to the State Department in Washington, which was leaked by the whistleblower site WikiLeaks, the then US Ambassador to Pakistan Anne Patterson wrote about the Mumbai attacks and the reaction to the carnage in Pakistan.

"The Mumbai attacks likely torpedoed any prospect of Indian CBMs on Kashmir in the immediate future," she wrote in the cable dated November 28, when security forces ended the three-day siege.

She said the decision to send ISI chief Gen Pasha to India, however, is a good sign that both sides are trying to prevent these horrific attacks from undermine all the progress made on bilateral rapprochement.

The move to send Pasha to India was later vetoed by the Pakistani Army.

"If the militant's plan was to force the Pakistani Army to re-focus on its eastern border and eliminate any chance (however slight) of moving forces from the Indian border to the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), then their plan may have succeeded," Patterson said in the cable.

The US, which has charged the Wikileaks of indulging in a criminal act by stealing and releasing these cables, has neither confirmed nor denied the authenticity of these documents.

Informing the reaction inside Pakistan on the Mumbai terrorist attacks, Patterson said Pakistani media reacted predictably with denials of Pakistani involvement and demands for proof before accusations were made.

Dawn TV, echoing the print media, highlighted statements issued by the President and the Prime Minister that "both countries are victims and must join together to combat a common enemy," and that "the two countries must not fall into the trap of the militants," the cable said.

Zardari is reported to have told Singh that he recognised he was the first to call him after the Marriott hotel attack in Islamabad, it said.

Dawn reports officials as saying "the blame game must not begin," but its own commentators say the blame game is underway.

Local print media mostly reported the event in straight stories with editorials condemning both the attacks and Indian accusations.

Some speculated the attacks were meant to undermine Zardari's outreach to India and juxtaposed the attacks against modest progress in the Composite Dialogue meetings on counter terrorism issues, the cable said.