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Wikileaks: Sonia failed to show ‘principled leadership’; Karat an ‘extortionist’

The US view of Indian politicians is wide-ranging. Much scorn is shown towards the Left.

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi |
December 17, 2010 12:24:29 pm

In the cables,US diplomats heavily criticise the failure of UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi to stave off the Left’s opposition to the nuclear deal.

“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. Mrs Gandhi never misses an opportunity to miss an opportunity,” one cable,sent in November 2007,said.

Veteran former Congress minister Arjun Singh is described as being from the party’s “Jurassic” wing.

A cable sent in December 2008 talk about the public anger after the terrorist attacks on Mumbai in November 2008 which had “served as a catharsis for people to vent other long simmering grievances against government – its corruption,its pompous use of symbols of authority like security guards and vehicle sirens,its indifference to providing health and education services,and its paralysis on building infrastructure,” ‘The Guardian’ reported.

The US view of Indian politicians is wide-ranging. Much scorn is shown towards the Left,who tried to block the nuclear power agreement which expanded the market for US in India.

Prakash Karat,the Communist party of India (Marxist) general secretary,is described as an “extortionist”.

Four thousand cables from the US embassy in New Delhi reveal that the relationship between the two countries had progressed from difficult to ‘increasingly warm’,’The Guardian’ reported. The paper reports India is perceived as an “emerging power anxious about its security despite its size and increasing wealth and a superpower that is keen to be friends but very much on its own terms”.

“US diplomats still appear impressed by India’s ‘vibrant and diverse’ democracy,seeing the country as a natural ally in the region and viewing Manmohan Singh,the 77-year-old economist and prime minister,as a natural friend,” the paper reported.

The relationship between India and the US is best reflected in a August 3 2006 meeting between Maria Shriver,the wife of Arnold Schwarzenegger,the governor of California,and Sonia Gandhi,the paper reported.

US diplomats said the one-hour meeting went “exceptionally well”.

“Usually withdrawn and reserved in public,Gandhi spoke at great length and radiated confidence on women’s issues and some aspects of her private life,” one official wrote to Washington. “This was a more relaxed Sonia,possibly because she felt a personal rapport with Maria Shriver.”

Gandhi also said reports of the mass sterilisation campaigns under the government of her mother-in-law Indira Gandhi in the 1970s was “highly exaggerated” and “politically motivated”. “But this,cables said,escaped her interlocutors,who were impressed by her ‘broad knowledge of Indian culture and traditions’ and lack of defensiveness about the country’s social problems.”

Cables also reveal when Shriver congratulated Gandhi for her resoluteness over the years and described her as “courageous”,she was “clearly embarrassed by this adulation” and “made no response”,’The Guardian’ reports.

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