Another 26/11 could result in Indian retaliation

Washington: A fresh Mumbai-style terror attack on India with its strong footprint across the border in Pakistan could result in retaliation from New Delhi, a top Obama Administration official has warned.

"I think were there to be another attack and were there to be similar numbers of civilian casualties, and were there to be any kind of allegations of Pakistani involvement, there would be a lot of domestic pressure for some sort of retaliatory act," Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Robert Blake said.

In an interview to WRVO Radio `Campbell Conversations` in Syracuse in New York, Blake appreciated India`s restrain after the Mumbai terrorist attack when approximately 166 people were killed by an attack carried out by Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba.

"That was a searing moment for the Indians because it played out on national television for three days and people were able to see for the first time the faces of suicide attackers who came in with the express purpose of killing not only Indian civilians, but some Americans. Six Americans were killed during those attacks," he said.

"The Indians showed a lot of restraint in not retaliating at that time," Blake said.

He said the Pakistanis have been very good about redeploying approximately 140,000 troops from their Indian border to the Afghan border where these sanctuaries are, where a lot of the groups that are attacking US troops based in Afghanistan.

"So it`s very important that they maintain that focus and that they, if anything, increase the number of troops going into that area. Were there to be another attack like that, of course they`d have to redeploy many troops back to the Indian border, and that would certainly not be in our interest," he said.

"So we have done a lot to improve our counter- terrorism cooperation and our intelligence cooperation to prevent such an attack from occurring. And it`s part of, gain, the widening scope of relations between our two countries," Blake said.

Noting that India has always had a very good non-proliferation record, Blake said the heart of the civil nuclear deal and the reason that other countries may not be eligible for it is that while they haven`t signed the NPT, they have a very strong non-proliferation record.

"Our judgment was that it was better to bring them into the non-proliferation system and have them be part of enforcing and strengthening the non-proliferation system, and that`s exactly what they`ve been doing," he said.