New Delhi: Worldwide Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community has said that relations between India and Pakistan remain tense following two major terrorist attacks in 2016 by militants crossing into India from Pakistan.
They might deteriorate further in 2017, especially in the event of another high-profile terrorist attack in India that New Delhi attributes to originating in or receiving assistance from Pakistan, the report states.
Islamabad’s failure to curb support to anti-India militants and New Delhi’s growing intolerance of this policy, coupled with a perceived lack of progress in Pakistan’s investigations into the January 2016 Pathankot cross-border attack, set the stage for a deterioration of bilateral relations in 2016. Increasing numbers of firefights along the Line of Control, including the use of artillery and mortars, might exacerbate the risk of unintended escalation between these nuclear-armed neighbours.
The report further said that Easing of heightened Indo-Pakistani tension, including negotiations to renew official dialogue, will probably hinge in 2017 on a sharp and sustained reduction of cross-border attacks by terrorist groups based in Pakistan and progress in the Pathankot investigation.
Daniel Coats, Director of National Intelligence told members of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence during a Congressional hearing on Worldwide threats said, "Islamabad has failed to curb militants and terrorists in Pakistan."
"These groups will present a sustained threat to the United States's interest in the region and continue to plan and conduct attacks in India and Afghanistan," Coats said.
Pakistan, he rued, is expanding its nuclear arsenal in pursuing tactical nuclear weapons, potentially lowering the threshold for their use.
"Pakistan is concerned about international isolation and sees its position of India's rising international status including India's expanded foreign outreach and deepening ties to the United States."
"Pakistan will likely turn to China to offset its isolation, empowering a relationship that will help Beijing to project influence into the Indian Ocean," Coats testified before the committee.