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India WikiLeaks: Sonia Gandhi Criticised In 2007 Cable

Jan 1, 2010
New Delhi:
The WikiLeaks storm is beginning to rock India.

A couple of cables released on the website discuss assessments of Rahul and Sonia Gandhi by US diplomats and officials.

One - in a cable dated August 2009 - has US Ambassador Timothy Roemer recalling a conversation where Rahul Gandhi said that Hindu extremism was a bigger threat to India than the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT). Angry reactions from BJP and an explanation from Gandhi were brandished this afternoon.

(Watch: Rahul has weakened India's war against terror, says BJP)

Another cable in November 2007 is biting in its criticism of Sonia Gandhi for what is described as her failure in defeating opposition to the India-US nuclear deal. This was at the height of the political deadlock over the deal , with the Left combating the UPA government.

A cable by Ted Osius, currently the US deputy chief of mission in Jakarta says,"The Congress Party, led by Sonia Gandhi, has proven especially cautious and nervous in the face of recent extortionist tactics by Prakash Karat. With two huge confrontations in its future -- Parliament and Gujarat -- it will remain true to its cautious form by seeking first to gauge its levels of support before finally being forced -- if absolutely needed -- to take action.

With the future of Indian foreign credibility hanging in balance, Sonia Gandhi has been unable to show principled leadership even when it might benefit her party at the polls and reveal Prakash Karat to be the extortionist he is. Mrs Gandhi never misses an opportunity to miss an opportunity. While remaining publicly restrained and taking care not to be seen as interfering with domestic Indian politics, the Embassy will continue to meet with all political, business and civil society organizations to urge them to support the agreement. We will continue to press the UPA government on the need for early completion of the safeguards agreement with the IAEA. And, we will continue our efforts to remind the BJP that the US-India civil nuclear agreement is their deal, too."

However, America's opinion of Mrs Gandhi had been much more positive just a year before that. A cable sent in August 2006 finds much to praise in Mrs Gandhi's meeting with Maria Shriver, wife of Californian governor Arnold Schwarznegger.

The cable highlights Mrs Gandhi's candid chat with Shriver and states, "Deeply hurt by personal tragedy, she has erected a strong and stoic persona to prevent public access to her personal space... She presents an intriguing enigma of a warm private personality that remains concealed and is available only to her closest confidants and family members."


Rajneesh Madhok