Leak: US fears theft of bioweapons from India labs

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Another cable released Friday revealed the extent of India’s frustration with rival Pakistan, where it says the Mumbai plot was hatched and received army support.

Earlier this year, India’s Home Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram told visiting FBI Director Robert Mueller that Pakistan had “done damn near nothing” to prosecute the Mumbai suspects, according a cable. While Pakistan has arrested seven people in connection with the attacks, those trials have not yet properly begun.

Instead of pursuing militants, Pakistan’s military is “hypnotically obsessed” with India’s military, Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao was quoted as saying. She added that peace talks would remain on hold until Pakistan did more to dismantle terrorist networks that target India.

The cables also discussed a confidential 2005 briefing by the International Committee of the Red Cross that accused India of the widespread use of torture in Kashmir, where the Indian government confronts a raging separatist insurgency.

The Red Cross said it had interviewed 1,491 detainees in Kashmir between 2002 and 2004 and found that many had been beaten, hung from the ceiling, put in stress positions, sexually abused or tortured with electricity, water or a round metal object called “the roller” used to crush a person’s thighs, the cable said

The agency had raised the issues with India for a decade and the continuation of the practice led the agency to believe the government condoned the torture, it said.

On Friday, ICRC spokesman Christian Cardon said in Geneva that the briefing referred to in the cable did take place, but declined comment on what was said during it.

In response to the accusation, Indian Foreign Ministry spokesman Vishnu Prakash said Friday: “India is an open and democratic nation which adheres to the rule of law. If and when an aberration occurs, it is promptly and firmly dealt with.”

The cables also revealed that Rahul Gandhi, a top official in the ruling Congress Party, warned in 2009 that homegrown Hindu extremist groups could pose a greater threat than established Islamist militant groups, such as Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba, which has been blamed for the Mumbai attacks.

Gandhi appeared to be referring to the danger of a flare up in Hindu-Muslim communal violence caused by some of the more extreme leaders of the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party, according to the cable, which was written by Ambassador Timothy Roemer.

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Associated Press writer Ashok Sharma contributed to this report.

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