CHESTER HAS MOVED!: India, Nepal and Al Qaeda?

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

India, Nepal and Al Qaeda?

Something crossed our radar screen in the last 72 hours that the Nepalese insurgency has been co-opted by Al Qaeda. Can't find this tidbit now -- could have been in our internet travels or from an Alert Reader -- but it seems to be even more interesting when put in the perspective of this story about US-Indian relations:
India's defense establishment is sending distress signals to sections of the country's media over what it considers inordinate United States interest in the affairs of India's sensitive, insurgency-infested northeast. Military officials are deeply unhappy over the ever-growing access US diplomats and military personnel are getting to disturbed areas in the region. An Asia Times Online investigation has revealed that the disquiet is almost a decade old, though it has grown exponentially since US ambassador to India Robert Mulford wrote to the chief ministers of Assam and Nagaland directly offering help in counter-insurgency operations in the wake of terrorist violence in October, 2004. He did not bother to go through the proper channels; that is, through the ministry of external affairs. This raised a lot of questions and controversies in the media; the central government, too, was not happy about it. But the matter rests there, and no further explanations have emerged as to why the US ambassador chose to go over the heads of the central government.
Perhaps the Ambassador wasn't just off his cork but had some detailed information from DC explaining our increased interest in Nepal and its rebellion?


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