LeT expanding to other South Asian states: US


Senior Member
Oct 5, 2009
LeT expanding to other South Asian states: US

WASHINGTON: The Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), predominately a threat to India, is fast expanding its operations to other South Asian countries, including Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Maldives, a top US military official told US lawmakers on Friday.

The dangerously expanding influence of LeT, which was responsible for the Mumbai attack in 2008, is an issue of concern for the Obama Administration, said Admiral Robert Willard, Commander of the US Pacific Command, in his testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee.

“Right now, our concern is the movement of the Lashkar-e-Taiba, the terrorist group that emanates from Pakistan that was responsible for the Mumbai attacks in India and specifically their positioning in Bangladesh and Nepal, the Maldives and Sri Lanka,” Willard said in response to a question from Senator George Lemieux.

He said the US was working “very closely with the Indians” to develop the necessary plans to counter the LeT and its movement into the Asia-Pacificregion. Asked specifically if the LeT was a regional threat or a threat to India, Willard said as of now the LeT was predominately a threat to India.

“We’re attempting to develop a further understanding of the extent to which they’re a regional threat. If you’ll recall, the Lashkar-e-Taiba was evidenced in Chicago with the arrest of Headley,” he said.

“And we have certainly knowledge of their influence within the region beyond the countries that I just mentioned. The extent of that influence is what we’re taking it under study,” he said.

Responding to a question from Senator Daniel Akaka, Willard said the military-to-military relationship with India has been evolving over the last decade and has also started at the tactical level service-to-service type interaction. He said that he had first hand experience of the military cooperation some of which he experienced while he was the 7th Fleet commander in hosting executive steering groups with his counterparts in the Indian Navy. “At the same time, we’ve had in the past modest exercise series with the Indians that have grown over the years to become now, complex exercise series with the Indians,” he said.

Willard said as part of the military-to-military exchanges, the two countries are now holding strategic-level discussions and “very complex military discussions regarding our respective advancements and our future in terms of exercising together”.


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