RAW Tapped Pak-US Diplomats’ Telephone Call: Book

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Srinagar – India’s external intelligence agency, Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) is understood to have successfully checkmated a Pakistani resolution on Kashmir at the United Nations General Assembly by halting possible US support to it.

The revelation is contained in Kris Srinivisan’s memoirs, “Diplolmatic Channels,” being launched in London shortly, 17 years after he had demitted office as India’s foreign secretary, a London-datelined report by Times News Network said on Monday. 

According to the report, RAW had snooped on a telephone conversation between a known pro-Pakistan US assistant secretary of state for South Asia, Robin Raphel, and then US ambassador in Islamabad, confirming that the US would not back a draft Pakistani resolution against India on Kashmir at the United Nations.

Srinivasan recounts Pakistan had provisionally introduced the resolution at the UNGA’s first committee in September 1994. To counter this, the former foreign secretary, Srinivasan, approached the then prime minister, P V Narasimha Rao, to “instigate” release of Kashmiri dissidents, initiate election process in Jammu and Kashmir, and facilitate return of Red Cross to the state.

At a subsequent meeting with his counterpart in US administration, Peter Tarnoff, Srinivasan argued that “a negative vote against India at the UN would stimulate militant activity and render futile the democratic steps the Indian government was trying to take.”

Indian moves frustrated Raphel, “which we came to hear from a phone intercept,” says Srinivasan, adding she had informed her colleague, the US ambassador, that she had pressed for an affirmative vote for the resolution, but had been blocked by “higher-ups.”

RAW successfully tapped Raphel’s call, despite this being from Washington to Islamabad, and apparently forwarded a tape and transcript to Srinivasan.

Interestingly, as a decoy, India had moved a draft resolution in the UN committee on the desirability of complete elimination of nuclear weapons within a fixed time-frame, which had found co-sponsors as well. This alarmed the Americans, who were pressing for a resolution favoring a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. They promptly dispatched a senior arms control expert to Delhi to ask India to desist.

South Block withdrew the draft, conveying to Washington that it would reciprocally expect the same attitude when it came to India’s concerns. Thus, the world’s superpower, it would appear, was check-mated. Earlier in 1994, Pakistan had provisionally moved a resolution against India on Kashmir at the UN Commission for Human Rights. This, too, had to be withdrawn after strenuous MEA lobbying, for which A B Vajpayee and Salman Khursheed earned plaudits.

Observer Monitoring Desk

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