November 5, 2014
APIn this file photo, BSF patrols the border area to prevent militant threat.
The Pentagon says "Afghan - and India-focused militants continue to operate from Pakistan territory
In an unusually candid report, the U.S. Pentagon has openly criticised Pakistan for using militant groups as proxies in a war against a “superior” Indian army, a step that could mark growing strategic closeness between Washington and New Delhi since Prime Minister Narendra Modi assumed office in May.
In its report on “Progress Towards Security and Stability in Afghanistan,” tabled in the U.S. Congress, the Pentagon said, “Afghan - and India - focused militants continue to operate from Pakistan territory to the detriment of Afghan and regional stability. Pakistan uses these proxy forces to hedge against the loss of influence in Afghanistan and to counter India's superior military.”
The report also strongly hints that the terrorist attack on the Indian consulate in Herat, Afghanistan, in May, was deliberately timed to coincide with Mr. Modi’s swearing-in.
“In May of this reporting period, the Indian consulate in Herat Province was attacked by a group of four heavily armed militants. The attack came three days prior to the swearing-in of the new Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi. Prime Minister Modi is perceived as being close to Hindu nationalist groups, a fact that may have played into the timing of the attack,” the report said.
It added that within a month of that strike the U.S. State Department announced that the terrorist outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba, the group behind the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, was responsible for the violence.
The report assumes additional significance as given Mr. Modi’s use of similar terms when he said in August, “The neighbouring country has lost the strength to fight a conventional war, but continues to engage in the proxy war of terrorism.”