Pakistan needs to eliminate its terror outfits: US

February 13th, 2009 - 10:12 am ICT by IANS  

Washington, Feb 13 (IANS) Unless Pakistan takes sustained, concrete, meaningful steps to allay Indian concerns about Islamabad’s support to anti-Indian militant groups, efforts to improve relations between the two countries could unravel, the US has warned.

“This is the case particularly in light of the November 2008 terrorist attack in Mumbai,” US intelligence agencies told the Congress Thursday noting the attack has convinced New Delhi that such attacks are a part of Pakistan’s new strategy to undercut India’s emerging international stature.

“The attack has convinced many Indians that Pakistani military leaders, in an effort to undercut India’s emerging international stature, now favour a strategy of allowing Pakistan-based groups to attack targets that symbolise New Delhi’s growing prominence on the global stage or that could undermine India’s prominence by provoking religious violence in the country.”

“In the absence of a military response against Islamabad, the Indian public will look for visible signs that Pakistan is actively working to punish those involved and eliminate its domestic terrorist organizations,” the director of national intelligence (DNI), Admiral Dennis Blair, said in his annual threat assessment report.

“Pakistan-based groups could carry out additional attacks against India and run the risk of provoking an India-Pakistan conflict,” added the report representing the findings of all 16 US intelligence agencies.

“In addition, India, which has endured a series of major terrorist attacks without major military response since 2003, is under domestic pressure to make rapid and significant improvements in its counter-terrorism capabilities.”

Thus “determined efforts by Indian and Pakistani leaders to improve relations through the so-called Composite Dialogue over the last four years could unravel unless Islamabad takes sustained, concrete, meaningful steps to allay Indian concerns about Islamabad’s support to anti-Indian militant groups,” the report said.

“On the global stage, Indian leaders will continue to follow an independent course characterised by economic and political pragmatism, the report said noting, “New Delhi will not automatically support Indian-Pakistan Relations.”

Within South Asia, one of the world’s least integrated regions, India will strive to manage tensions with Pakistan, trans-national terrorism, and spillover from instability in small neighbouring states.

Like China, India’s expanding economy will lead New Delhi to pursue new trade partners, gain access to vital energy markets, and generate the other resources required to sustain rapid economic growth, the report said.

To sustain rapid growth, Indian governments also must maintain the political support for economic reforms needed to drive the expanding economy.

India also will look for ways to safeguard its interests in light of the concluding civil war in Sri Lanka and political uncertainty in Bangladesh and Nepal, which have experienced dramatic transformations in government during the past year.

New Delhi generally will be supportive of democratic forces in its smaller neighbours, while also being sensitive to the opinions of the Tamil and Bengali communities within India, it said.

In addition to a possible India-Pakistan conflict, Pyongyang’s nuclear ambitions and proliferation behaviour threaten to destabilise East Asia, the report concluded.

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