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‘Conservative, obstructionist'

Mukund Padmanabhan

CHENNAI: India's policy on Kashmir has “become consolidated under the more forward leaning Home Minister P. Chidambaram after the exit of National Security Adviser M.K. Narayanan, who played a dominant, conservative and often obstructive role” according to a cable sent on February 1, 2010 ( 246481, confidential).

U.S. Ambassador Timothy Roemer found that “Narayanan cast a huge shadow over decision making on internal security issues.” He added that as a result of his “intelligence and security background as well as his ties to the Nehru-Gandhi family, he seldom lost a bureaucratic or policy battle.” While “Narayanan's natural instinct on Kashmir (and Pakistan) was cautious, conservative, and obstructionist,” Mr. Chidambaram was described as having shown “he is willing to be a risk-taker on this intractable issue.”

The cable referred to new confidence-building measures taken by the Indian government in Jammu and Kashmir. These included Defence Minister A.K. Antony's announcement that the Army would further reduce its visibility and that the State police would play a more prominent role in counter-terrorism, especially in urban areas.

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