New Delhi: A decade after the hijacking of an
Indian Airlines plane, the Chief Indian negotiator who engaged
the hijackers blamed the then government for its "diplomatic
failure" in their inability to make the US and UAE use their
influence to help secure a quick release of the passengers.
A K Doval, the 64-year-old former Intelligence Bureau
Chief, who led the four-member negotiating team to Kandahar,
even went to the extent of calling the "diplomatic failure" a
"bloody disgrace" for India.
He regretted that the Government was unable to put up an
effective case about the hijack crisis before the
The Indian Airlines Plane with 174 passengers and a
11-member crew on a flight from Kathmandu to Delhi was
hijacked on December 24, 1999 while it was overflying Lucknow.
The crisis ended on December 31.
Doval in an interview to PTI today was candid enough to
say that "no one worth any consequence was contacted either by
the (then) Foreign Minister (Jaswant Singh) or the (then)
Foreign Secretary (Lalit Mansingh)."
"...there was a diplomatic failure on our inability.
When we know that the US is totally against the terrorists,
they are against the Taliban, they had total hold over the
UAE, we could not leverage this thing. Our Ambassador
could not even get inside the airport (in Abu Dhabi).
"We should have been able to this thing...the engagement
should been done at the highest level. If need be the Prime
Minister (could) have talked to the President of America" and
tell him that the plane is in Abu Dhabi, which is practically
an US airbase in the middle," said Doval, the first police
officer to have been decorated with second highest military
award--Kirti Chakra--in 1988.