February 2003 News

Pakistan still backing anti-India outfits: CIA

12 February 2003
The Hindustan Times
S. Rajagopalan

Washington: CIA chief George Tenet has informed a Senate panel that Pakistan is continuing to support anti-India groups in Jammu and Kashmir and cautioned that another major terrorist act could provoke India to mass forces on the border again. In a testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee, Tenet said the Al Qaeda continues to find refuge in the hinterlands of Afghanistan and Pakistan, apart from establishing a presence in Iran and Iraq. Osama’s network 'is living in the expectation of resuming the offensive', he said. On Islamabad's nexus with anti-India outfits, Tenet said: 'Pakistan continues to support groups that resist India's presence in Kashmir in an effort to bring India to the negotiating table.' Frustration with continued attacks has prompted India to reject any suggestion for resumption of talks with Pakistan. Although India's border demobilisation has reduced the danger of imminent war, the CIA chief said the cycles of tension between the two countries are growing shorter. Without progress on resolving Indo-Pak differences, any provocation like the attack on the Indian Parliament could trigger another major troop mobilisation, he said. Meanwhile, the White House said on Tuesday that easing Indo-Pak tensions is going to be 'a long- term project' for President Bush. He will pursue it along with other nations, notably Russia and UK, that have played a useful role in reducing the tensions. Tenet spoke of multiple intelligence reports warning of potential terrorist attacks in the US and on the Arabian peninsula from groups with strong Al Qaeda ties. These reports are 'the most specific we have seen', prompting the Bush regime to raise the security threat perception to the 'orange level'. On the nuclear front, the CIA chief said some of the smaller countries wanted to confront the world with a new nuclear arms race that threatens to dismantle non-proliferation efforts. He also referred to the 'concern' about the 'maturing nuclear programmes' of India and Pakistan.


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