Singapore diplomat calls India `stupid`: WikiLeaks

Last Updated: Sunday, December 12, 2010 - 13:41

Singapore: A top Singaporean diplomat
described India as "stupid", saying the country was "half in,
half out" of the ASEAN grouping, according to leaked US

The whistle-blower website WikiLeaks released several US
State Department cables that contained controversial comments
by senior Singaporean foreign affairs officials on India and
other Asian allies like Malaysia, Thailand and Japan.

The cables containing comments made during Singaporean
diplomats` meetings with senior US officials such as Deputy
Secretary of Defence for East Asia David Sedney between 2008
and last year were exclusively leaked to Australia`s Fairfax
Media Group.

In one of the cables, Singapore`s Ambassador at large
Tommy Koh called Japan "the big fat loser" in the context of
improving ties between China and ASEAN.

According to Australian newspapers which carried the
contents of the cables, Koh attributed the relative decline of
Japan`s position in the region to its "stupidity, bad
leadership and lack of vision."

Koh was "equally merciless towards India, describing his
`stupid Indian friends` as `half in, half out` of ASEAN," a
leaked cable said.

ASEAN -- the Association of South East Asian Nations in
which India has an observer status -- is made up of Brunei,
Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines,
Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

The leaked cables also contained comments from former
permanent secretary at Singapore`s Foreign Affairs Ministry
Peter Ho and permanent secretary Bilahari Kausikan on the
political situation and leadership in Malaysia and Thailand.

"A lack of competent leadership is a real problem for
Malaysia," Kausikan told Sedney, according to a cable dated
September 2008.

As such, "the situation in neighboring Malaysia is
confused and dangerous," fuelled by a "distinct possibility of
racial conflict" that could see ethnic Chinese "flee" Malaysia
and "overwhelm" Singapore, Kausikan was quoted as saying.

Peter Ho reportedly described Malaysian Prime Minister
Najib Razak as "an opportunist" who "would not hesitate" to be
critical of Singapore if "it is expedient for him to do so."

He said allegations linking Najib to the murder of a
Mongolian woman in 2006, which the leader has strongly
rejected, would continue to "haunt" his political fortunes,
the leaked cables showed.

Kausikan was also critical of the Thai government in
2008, labelling then premier Thaksin Shinawatra as "corrupt"
along with "everyone else, including the opposition."

He also said the Thai crown prince was "very erratic, and
easily subject to influence," and warned of continued
instability in Thailand.

Other notable comments about regional affairs made by
Kausikan in September 2008 included his reported claim that
Myanmar`s neighbours, including China and India, are "more
concerned with stability than justice" and they feared the
Burmese junta`s demise could produce "an Asian reprise of the
breakup of Yugoslavia," according to the Australian media.

Singapore`s Foreign Affairs Ministry expressed deep
concern over the damaging actions of WikiLeaks.

The "selective release of documents, especially when
taken out of context, will only serve to sow confusion and
fail to provide a complete picture of the important issues
that were being discussed amongst leaders in the strictest
(norm) of confidentiality," a ministry spokesman was quoted as
saying by the `Straits Times`.


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First Published: Sunday, December 12, 2010 - 13:41

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