U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Robert Blake on Saturday suggested that Pakistan rein in the Lashkar-e-Taiba, given its increasing capacity to target other countries, including the U.S.
In an interview, Mr. Blake said: “Lashkar-e-Taiba is a terrorist group based in Pakistan that has increasingly global ambitions and global scope … and so it's in the interest of Pakistan to rein in the activities of LeT.”
Signalling growing concern in the U.S. over the rise of the LeT, Mr. Blake's comments came a day after a hearing on the Capitol Hill where Congressmen noted, “The LeT has put the world on notice that they intend to escalate the carnage and spread it worldwide.”
Threat of terrorism
Touching upon the first India-Pakistan talks since the 2008 Mumbai attacks, Mr. Blake said: “We do believe that one of the most important things to work on is this issue of terrorism, because I think, it's something that threatens not only both of these countries but also the United States.”
Mr. Blake explained that in addition to a significant increase in civilian assistance, the U.S. was also “helping the Pakistani military to reorient itself from its historical focus on India and the threat that might have been posed by India, towards improving its counter-insurgency and counter-terrorist capabilities, so that it can really grapple and deal with the challenges in its border areas.”
He said there could never be success in stabilising Afghanistan without the full participation of Pakistan.
Civilian nuclear pact
On the civilian nuclear agreement with India, Mr. Blake affirmed that “The United States, under President Obama, remains very much committed to the nuclear agreement that was signed under President Bush, and Prime Minister [Manmohan] Singh.”
Pointing out that “very important talks on reprocessing” were under way, he said he expected the discussions to be completed “well before” the August 2010 deadline.
Mr. Blake emphasised that the U.S. was very much hoping that the Indian government would proceed with very important legislation on nuclear liability, and was gratified to learn that the President of India had announced India's intention to introduce this Bill in the current session of Parliament.
“We'll be following the progress of that legislation very closely,” he said, adding the U.S.' ultimate goal was to allow export of nuclear reactors to India.