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US warns of more attacks in India by Pakistan-supported terrorist groups

Terrorists struck the Sunjuwan Military Camp in Jammu on February 12, 2018, killing seven people including six soldiers.

US warns of more attacks in India by Pakistan-supported terrorist groups
Representational image (Pic courtesy: Reuters)

Washington: America's intelligence chief has warned that Pakistan-supported terrorist groups would continue to carry out attacks in India. 

"Terrorist 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," Dan Coats, Director of National Intelligence said in his testimony before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence said during the hearing on 'Worldwide Threat Assessment' of the US intelligence community.

Pakistan, in fact, will continue to threaten US interests by deploying new nuclear weapons capabilities, maintaining its ties to terrorists, restricting counter-terrorism cooperation, and drawing closer to China, he maintained.

Coats added that 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," he said, as per PTI.

However, actions taken thus far "do not reflect a significant escalation of pressure against these groups and are unlikely to have a lasting effect," Coats said.

Without specifically referring to any terrorist incident by Pakistan-based groups, he told the lawmakers that he expects tension between the two Asian neighbours.

"Relations between India and Pakistan are likely to remain tense, 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 (LoC)," Coats said.

His remarks have come days after a group of Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad terrorists struck the Sunjuwan Military Camp in Jammu and Kashmir on Saturday, killing seven people including six soldiers.

And on February 12, 2018, a gunfight had broken out between security forces and terrorists after their attempt to strike a CRPF camp was foiled.

Pro-active strategy of Army to continue in J&K, says Northern Command chief

Meanwhile, a top commander said on Wednesday that the "pro-active" strategy in the aftermath of the 2016 Uri terror attack will continue as the Indian Army has dominated Pakistan along the LoC in Jammu and Kashmir.

General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Northern Command, Lt Gen D Anbu also said that over three times more casualties had been inflicted on the adversary in 2017.

"Pakistan and its ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence) is directly involved in terrorism not only in J&K but also in neighbouring countries, as without its support, training and strategy, terrorism would not have lasted so long," he said.

On the Sunjuwan terror strike in the state on Saturday, the officer said, "It is the frustrated enemy (Pakistan) which does involve itself in such activities when it is not able to face us on the borders."

"It is but natural that the enemy is on the receiving end and looks for the easier alternative. While immediately behind the borders we have strengthened ourselves and we are very well prepared, it picked up soft targets," he said.

"I will not accept a single lapse on the border because it is supported to be protected. The Army spent almost Rs 364 crore on different things to build up the security of the soft elements on the LoC," Anbu said.

"We got our acts together as far as surveillance, sentry duty and drills and other things are concerned besides the intelligence," he said.

The operations and the management of the LoC was quite complex, challenging and dynamic, and that over the past one year, things evolved continuously, Anbu pointed out.

"We are working as per our strategy and will continue to do so. I want to assure you that we are not going to be cowed down by small incidents, 'fidayeen' (suicide) attacks or other things. We are not going to derail from our main course of action," he told reporters.

Anbu further said that the Army's endeavour was to ensure "zero infiltration". "Infiltration does take place. We endeavour to ensure zero infiltration that is our job and we put our best effort," he said.

The terrorists present at training camps and launching pads are being pushed into this side. If we take south and north of Pir Panjal, 185 to 220 are always present in south and 195-220 continue to remain in north, Anbu said.

(With PTI inputs)