Amid a spike in terror attacks in Jammu & Kashmir, the intellegence chief of the United States has warned India of more attacks by Pakistan-supported terrorist groups. “Militant groups supported by Islamabad will continue to take advantage of their safe haven in Pakistan to plan and conduct attacks in India and Afghanistan, including against US interests,” Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats said during the hearing on ‘Worldwide Threat Assessment’ of the US intelligence community.
His remarks came days after a group of Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad terrorists struck the Sunjuwan Military Camp in Jammu, killing seven people including six soldiers. On February 12, a gunfight broke out between security forces and militants, who took shelter in a building in Karan Nagar area of Srinagar after their attempt to strike a CRPF camp was foiled. A CRPF jawan was killed in the gunfight.
In his testimony before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Coats said that Pakistan will continue to threaten US interests by deploying new nuclear weapons capabilities, maintaining its ties to militants, restricting counter- terrorism cooperation, and drawing closer to China.
He said Pakistan’s perception of its eroding position relative to India, reinforced by endemic economic weakness and domestic security issues, almost certainly will exacerbate long-held fears of isolation and drive Islamabad’s pursuit of actions that run counter to US goals for the region.
“Ongoing Pakistani military operations against the Taliban and associated groups probably reflect the desire to appear more proactive and responsive to our requests for more actions against these groups.” However actions taken thus far “do not reflect a significant escalation of pressure against these groups and are unlikely to have a lasting effect.” Without specifically referring to any terrorist incident by Pakistan-based groups, Coats told the lawmakers that he expects tension between the two Asian neighbours.
“Relations between India and Pakistan are likely to remain tense, with continued violence on the Line of Control and the risk of escalation if there is another high-profile terrorist attack in India or an uptick in violence on the Line of Control,” Coats said.
(With PTI inputs)