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'Global jihadis may target India'

'Global jihadis may target India'

Author: Political Bureau
Publication: The Economic Times
Date: December 5, 2009

THE US on Friday warned that transnational jihadists, who are coordinating their terror plans, could target India. In a testimony to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, US defence secretary Robert Gates said al Qaida is providing information and giving other logistical support to LeT to launch terror attacks in India.

Mr Gates testimony has not come as a surprise to New Delhi, which is aware of these cross-linkages and has warned the US against allowing Islamabad to continue with its selective targeting of the terror infrastructure.

The US defence secretary also warned that the terror cooperation between the two groups was aimed at provoking a conflict between India and Pakistan. "al Qaida is providing them (LeT) with targeting information and helping them in their plotting in India," Mr Gates told the Senate committee. Mr Gates also reiterated the LeT-al Qaida linkage in a testimony before the House Armed Services Committee where he said the Al Qaida is using the Taliban to destabilise Pakistan and groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba to provoke an Indo-Pak conflict.

Concurring with Mr Gates, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen revealed in his testimony that the linkages between the two terror groups had occurred in the past two years. "I certainly agree with the nexus (between al-Qaida and the LeT), and I have watched it over the last year to two, that these groups are coming together". Mr Mullen said that the collaboration between the groups showed that the problem was not locally-restricted. "It is actually not local anymore and that is an example of the collaboration that's going on with all these units. I was struck, as I'm sure you were, in Mumbai that a terrorist outfit could literally generate that kind of attack," he said.

Recently, there have been statements from Washington assuring New Delhi of continued cooperation to tackle the LeT threat. US President Obama in a letter to Asif Ali Zardari had also warned Pakistan that its use of insurgent groups for policy goals "cannot continue" and called for closer collaboration against the LeT and other terror groups.

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