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Militants in Pakistan get official patronage: NSA

Headley`s revelations have confirmed that links exist between the establishment and terror groups.



New Delhi: The interrogation of Pakistani-American David Coleman Headley, who helped the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) in plotting the 2008 Mumbai terror attack, points to official patronage of terror groups, National Security Adviser (NSA) Shivshankar Menon said Tuesday.

Without naming Pakistan, Menon said the nexus had left no room for India to be optimistic as the link was growing "stronger".

"It has been brought to us through Headley that there are clear links between militants and official establishments. It is that nexus with existing intelligence agencies that makes it much a harder phenomenon for us to deal with and suggest it won`t be broken soon," Menon said, addressing a conference on terrorism here.

He said the information that Indian investigating agencies have and deal with suggest that the link "is getting stronger".

The interrogation of Headley proved "our worst fears have come true and the situation is as bad as we thought", Menon said in his brief speech at the conference on `Countering terrorism in South Asia: Perspective from US and India` organised by the Observer Research Foundation (ORF) and the US-based Heritage Foundation.

Stating that "there is less possibility of being optimistic", the NSA said the traditional definition of terror groups in South Asia has become obsolete in the wake of these outfits merging to conduct operations.

"The other aspect that is coming from it is how over times in the last few years these terror groups in South Asia have got fused, they are training together, using the same communication," Menon said.

"The traditional distinction of these terror groups has become meaningless," he said, referring to Pakistan`s "good" Taliban and "bad" Taliban theory.

Menon is the second high ranking Indian official to talk about official patronage militant groups receive in Pakistan.

Earlier on the eve of the India-Pakistan talks in Islamabad last week, Home Secretary GK Pillai had said that the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) had a "much more significant role" to play in the Mumbai mayhem and that the Pakistani spy agency was "literally controlling and coordinating the attacks from the beginning till the end".

Headley, who is in a Chicago jail, was interrogated by Indian investigators, including sleuths from the National Investigation Agency (NIA), last month.

IANS

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