Arriving in India on Wednesday, US Defence Secretary Robert Gates said India’s patience would be limited if it faced another 26/11-like terror attack.
He also warned that militant groups Lashkar-e-Tayyebba (LeT) and Al-Qaeda were working together to destabilise the South Asian region and provoke a confrontation between India and Pakistan.
“I think it is not unreasonable to assume Indian patience would be limited were there to be further attacks,” said Gates.
Gates, who discussed the serious threat posed by terrorism to the region with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Defence Minister A.K. Antony, emphasised the need for “high level of cooperation” from all countries to defeat the “syndicate” of terror, including the LeT, the Taliban and Al-Qaeda. He said the syndicate had “home and safe haven” in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border areas and that there was need to recognise the magnitude of threat to the entire region.
“A victory for any one group is a victory for all,” he said.
Gates hard-pitched for two long-pending military pacts with India. The two countries also discussed China’s military build-up, with Washington urging greater interaction between the Asian giants.
Gates arrived in India on Tuesday on a two-day visit and has met the prime minister and External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna, besides Antony. This is his second visit here since 2006, when he served in the Bush administration. In an unusual move, US President Barack Obama retained him to ensure continuity in policies.