News / Asia

US Fears Biowarfare Stemming From India

Traffic moves outside the main premises of Biocon, an Indian biotech company, in Bangalore, India, 17 Dec 2010
Traffic moves outside the main premises of Biocon, an Indian biotech company, in Bangalore, India, 17 Dec 2010

U.S. officials fear lax security at Indian laboratories could result in a biological terror attack, with fatal diseases like anthrax spreading worldwide.

Diplomatic cables from the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi reveal that a senior Indian diplomat told U.S. officials that terror groups have an increasing interest in biowarfare and could be seeking out experts in the field.  

The cables from 2006 are posted on the WikiLeaks website and were published Friday by Britain's Guardian newspaper.  They quote Indian officials as saying terrorists could easily find material needed for bioterrorism due to the poor security and safety practices in India's advanced biotechnology labs.

The cables warn that India could serve as a good launching pad for a biological attack because of New Delhi's "strong web of air connections," with several direct flights to nearly every continent.

One cable said the Indian government believes the threat of biological terror is slim, and that the greater concern is of a possible nuclear or chemical attack.

In a separate cable, Indian officials told U.S. diplomats that Pakistan is "hypnotically obsessed" with India's military, and complained that Pakistan has done nothing to prosecute the suspects in the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks.  

India's home minister Palaniappan Chidambaram expressed his frustration to FBI Director Robert Mueller, saying Pakistan had done, in his words, "damn near nothing" in the case.







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