Blackwill concurs with Advani's frustation over IA hijack in 1999

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New Delhi, Mar 28 (UNI) Former US Ambassador Robert Blackwill today concurred with the frustration of senior BJP leader L K Advani regarding United States' response in providing assistance to secure the release of hostages on the hijacked Indian Airlines plane at Kandahar in 1999.

Mr Blackwill who was the US Ambassador in the Bush administration, however, contradicted Mr Advani's claim in his latest book 'My Country My Life' that he had contacted him during the hijack crisis for securing US help. ''I was 'happily teaching' at Harvard but I sympathise with the essence of Mr Advani's frustration at not getting US help to tide over the crisis despite best efforts,'' Mr Blackwill told CNBC TV 18.

''In my opinion, the US administration was 'unresponsive' to democratic India's concern and Mr Advani has every good reason to feel disappointed,'' Mr Blackwill said. ''How could we allow an airplane to be captured by the terrorists and not engage all US government resources to assist a democratic family. US has to answer,'' he added.

''If the hijack were to take place after the September 11 attacks, US would have engaged deeply and quickly,'' he opined.

Mr Advani wrote in his book that he had approached Mr Blackwill to secure US help when the Indian Ambassador was not allowed to enter Dubai airport when the hijacked plane landed. The US with considerable military presence in Gulf could have taken some effective proactive steps to put the hijacked plane out of action by enabling the deployment of Indian commandos for a possible rescue operation.

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