Asserting that terrorism poses the main threat to the Indo-Pak ties, the Obama Administration said Pakistan needs to expand its counter-terrorism operations from the Afghan border to Punjab, where most of anti-India terror groups like LeT are based.

“The principal problem (that prevents the two countries from holding peace talks) is that of terrorism,” Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia, Robert Blake, told PTI here.

It is important for Pakistan to continue the important steps that they have taken against terrorism in Swat and South Waziristan and against some members of Taliban, he said.

They need to “extend that fight to the groups that are based in Punjab such as LeT that are attacking not only India, but also the United States, and potentially could attack Pakistan itself,” Mr. Blake said.

This is the message that has been conveyed to Pakistan during Mr. Blake’s recent visit to the country. “I think, it is the message that the Pakistanis themselves feel is important to do. They consistently said that they do not want to see terrorism emanating from their soil,” he said.

“I think progress towards reining in the activities of the LeT and Jaish-e-Mohammed and other such groups, would have a very significant impact on bilateral, India and Pakistani ties,” Mr. Blake said, strongly supporting the Indian stand that Pakistan needs to show its commitment on taking action against anti-India terrorist groups operating from within its border.

New Delhi says that Islamabad has been reluctant to take action against anti-India terrorist groups and their leaders, even though they are freely roaming around and holding public meetings, despite the fact that Pakistan has been provided ample evidence against them.

“We hope to see progress by Pakistan to address these things, which we think would be in Pakistan’s own interests and it would also have great benefit to improve relationship between India and Pakistan,” Mr. Blake said in response to a question.

Mr. Blake, the Obama Administration’s pointsman for South Asia, also welcomed the recent meeting between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Pakistani counterpart Yousuf Raza Gillani in Thimphu on the margins of the SAARC Summit in Bhutan, wherein the two leaders agreed to resume peace talks at the level of Foreign Ministers.

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