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Pak has to earn India's trust, says US intel chief

Pak has to earn India's trust, says US intel chief

Author: Chidanand Rajghatta
Publication: The Times of India
Date: February 14, 2009

The US welcomed Pakistan's decision to acknowledge the involvement of its nationals in the Mumbai terrorist attack and prosecute the masterminds, but warned that "unless Islamabad takes sustained, concrete, meaningful steps to allay Indian concerns about its support to anti-Indian militant groups,'' peace talks between the two countries may not resume.

Top US intelligence czar, Dennis Blair, has sounded a note of caution about a job unfinished by Islamabad to regain New Delhi's trust. Much of this, he suggested, centered round Pakistan civilian government's success in de-toxifying its military's strategy of using terror as a strategy against India.

Testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee, Blair, the new director of national intelligence, obliquely commended Indian restraint while suggesting Pakistan still had work to do. "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,'' Blair said.

Blair said the Mumbai 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 symbolize New Delhi's growing prominence on the global stage or that could undermine India's prominence by provoking religious violence in the country."

Blair also warned the Pakistan government "is losing authority in parts of the North-West Frontier Province and has less control of its semi-autonomous tribal areas."

On India, Blair disabused talk in some quarters that India was becoming an US lackey. "Nonetheless, good relations with the US will be essential for India to realize its global ambitions. Strong ties to Washington also will give India more confidence in dealing with China and in mitigating the dangers posed by Pakistan."

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