US wanted India to send Bollywood stars to Afghanistan to stabilise country: Wikileaks

Friday, December 17, 2010

NEW DELHI - US diplomats had suggested that India should send Bollywood stars to Afghanistan to help international efforts to stabilise the war-ravaged country, according to a March 2007 cable released by the whistleblower website ‘Wikileaks’.

The cable revealed that in 2007, when the US asked for “specific, concrete ideas for opportunities for India to use soft power in helping Afghanistan’s reconstruction”, officials said Bollywood was an area that “seems ripe”.

“We understand Bollywood movies are wildly popular in Afghanistan, so willing Indian celebrities could be asked to travel to Afghanistan to help bring attention to social issues there,” The Guardian quoted the cable, as saying.

The idea, which was never accomplished, reveals the constant efforts of diplomats at the embassy in New Delhi to exploit Indian resources and goodwill to aid the international effort in Afghanistan.

“India has significant aid to offer,” the cable notes, adding that a key challenge would be “to overcome Pakistani objection[s] … if India is to expand its role”.

India’s attempts to build its influence in Kabul and among Afghans through indirect aid and reconstruction assistance have often been seen by Pakistan as evidence of a strategy of encirclement by its historic enemy, the paper said. (ANI)

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