Progress in Indo-Pak ties could be undone by terror attack: US

Washington: Indo-Pak ties have made "modest progress" after the two countries took calculated decisions to improve relations but this could easily be undone by a terrorist attack against India linked to Pakistan, a top US intelligence official said on Thursday.

"Both India and Pakistan have made calculated decisions to improve ties, despite deep-rooted mistrust," James R Clapper, Director of National Intelligence, told members of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

"They held a series of meetings in the past year and will probably continue to achieve incremental progress on economic relations, such as trade, while deferring serious discussion on the more contentious issues of territorial disputes and terrorism," Clapper said.

"Even modest progress, however, could easily be undone by a terrorist attack against India linked to Pakistan, which could trigger a new crisis and prompt New Delhi to freeze bilateral dialogue," he said in his prepared remarks.

India, he said, will continue to support the current Afghan Government to ensure a stable and friendly Afghanistan.

India furthered its engagement with Afghanistan in 2012 and signed an additional four memoranda of understanding on mining, youth affairs, small development projects, and fertilizers during President Hamid Karzai's visit to New Delhi in November 2012, he said.

"We judge that India sees its goals in Afghanistan as consistent with US objectives, and favours sustained ISAF and US presence in the country," Clapper said.

"India will almost certainly cooperate with the US and Afghanistan in bilateral and multilateral frameworks to identify assistance activities that will help bolster civil society, develop capacity, and strengthen political structures in Afghanistan," Clapper said.

Moreover, India consistently ranks in the top three nations that Afghans see as helping their country rebuild.

As of April 2012, India ranked as Afghanistan's fifth largest bilateral donor, he added.