Militant groups supported by Pakistan, which uses some terror outfits as “policy tools”, will continue to plan and conduct attacks in India and Afghanistan, according to America’s top spymaster.
Remarks by Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats came as he and heads of other top American intelligence agencies appeared on Tuesday before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on their worldwide threat assessment.
“Militant groups supported by Pakistan will continue to take advantage of their safe haven in Pakistan to plan and conduct attacks in India and Afghanistan, including against US interests,” Coats told the members of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.
“We assess that neither the Afghan Government nor the Taliban will be able to gain a strategic military advantage in the Afghan war in the coming year if coalition support remains at current levels,” he said.
Coats said Pakistan’s “narrow approach to counterterrorism cooperation-using some groups as policy tools and confronting only the militant groups that directly threaten Pakistan-almost certainly will frustrate US counterterrorism efforts against the Taliban.”
Prominent among them included CIA Director Gina Haspel, who has just returned from a trip to India; FBI Director Christopher Wray and Defense Intelligence Agency Director Robert Ashley.
“The continued growth and development of Pakistan and India’s nuclear weapons programmes increase the risk of a nuclear security incident in South Asia, and the new types of nuclear weapons will introduce new risks for escalation dynamics and security in the region,” Coats said in his opening statement running into over 40 pages.
“Misperception of military movements or construction might result in tensions escalating into armed conflict,” he warned.
“We expect relations between India and China to remain tense, despite efforts on both sides to manage tensions since the border standoff in 2017, elevating the risk of unintentional escalation,” Coats told members of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence during a Congressional hearing on World Wide Threat assessment of the US intelligence community.