Washington, Dec.4 (ANI): US Defence Secretary, Robert Gates has expressed fears about Al-Qaeda trying to ignite war between India and Pakistan in its bid to destabilise the latter and gain control of its nuclear arsenals, and pointed out that the outlawed outfit is helping Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) to plan attacks against India.
Addressing a hearing on President Obama's revamped Afghan strategy at the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Gates said Al-Qaeda is supporting LeT against India in order to create further disturbances in the region.
"Al Qaida is providing them (LeT) with targeting information and helping them in their plotting in India, clearly with the idea of provoking a conflict between India and Pakistan that would destabilise Pakistan," The Dawn quoted Gates, as saying.
"And whether or not the terrorists are home-grown, when we trace their roots, they almost all end up back in this border area of Afghanistan and Pakistan, whether they're from the United States or Somalia or the United Kingdom or elsewhere,"
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who was also present during the hearing, also supported Gates' views, saying Washington has taken such threats 'very seriously'.
Describing Indo-Pak relationship as critical for the regional security, US Joint Chiefs Staff Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen said stability on the border between the two countries would be a 'great step forward in stabilising the region.'
Testifying before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Admiral Mullen said that while President Obama's new policy focussed on Afghanistan and Pakistan, it covered the whole South Asia.
"And India is a big player in that region as well," he said.
Admiral Mullen stressed that the relationship between India and Pakistan would play a critical role in stabilising the region.
"Leadership there must ... step forward, to stabilise that border more than anything else. And I think that would be a great step forward in stabilising the region," he added. (ANI)