Terrorist groups based in
Pakistan and Afghanistan were working with al-Qaeda to provoke a conflict between India and Pakistan, US Defence Secretary Robert Gates said Wednesday, DPA reported.
Gates said groups like the Pakistan-based
Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) were working with al-Qaeda as part of a syndicate of terrorist groups to destabilize the region.
The Afghan-Pakistan border was a primary home and safe haven for al-Qaeda, Gates said while on a visit to India.
"We also have the Taliban
"Under the umbrella of the al-Qaeda, all these groups are trying to destabilize not just Afghanistan, not just Pakistan, but potentially the entire region by provoking a conflict perhaps between India and Pakistan through some provocative act or terrorist act," the secretary said.
Gates also said India's patience might not be unlimited.
"India has responded with great restraint and statesmanship after the Mumbai terror attacks," he said of the November 2008 strikes that killed more than 160 people and were blamed on the LeT. "... It would not be unreasonable to assume that India's patience would be limited if there were to be another attack."
Gates, who is on a two-day visit to India, met Wednesday with Defence Minister AK Antony, a day after arriving in India. He also met with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and External Affairs Minister SM Krishna.
He is understood to have provided his assessment of the challenge posed by terrorism emanating from the Pakistan-Afghan region and sought the views of Indian leaders, the state-run Doordarshan television channel reported, citing official sources.