National Security Adviser MK Narayanan on Friday night said the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), which is active in India, is part of the "Al-Qaeda compact" and is "as big as and omnipotent" as the international terror network.
"The Lashkar today has emerged as a very major force. It has connectivity with West Asia, Europe....Actually there was an LeT module broken in Virginia and some people were picked up.
It is as big as and omnipotent as Al-Qaeda in every sense of the term," he told a private news channel.
He was asked whether Lashkar is part of Al-Qaeda and whether it has gone beyond Pakistan.
Asked how significant was the Al-Qaeda connection in India, Narayanan said LeT was the "most visible manifestaton" of Al-Qaeda in India.
"There are some other groups also which are linked with the Al-Qaeda, which are present in India. But for us other groups plus the Lashkar, the Al-Badr and others, which have links with the Al-Qaeda is a kind of an amoeba thing, a large kind of a thing. You have all kinds of people participating in it and outside it for one major cause the cause of terrorism as such," he said.
Narayanan said he would presume that when the Americans said Al-Qaeda, they were talking of Lashkar-e-Taiba.....We are aware of the Al-Qaeda ... They have always used a sort of smokescreen to keep out some country A or country B."
"I think most of us in the game know that Al-Qaeda is not necessarily only a single organisation. I think it is an interlocking web of organisations, which form part of that.
Now, the Lashkar is a main force in as far as terrorism in India is concerned, is part of the Al-Qaeda in the sense that they are not merged with the Al-Qaeda but they are a firm part of the integral group, which was set up by Osama Bin Laden way back in 1998", he said.
Narayanan said, "We are closely tracking most of the movements. We do alert people to possible threats. It's because we do it on the basis of credible evidence....We are not always able to beat the terrorists at their game....In some cases and I am sorry to say that Mumbai was one of the major failures of our security agencies, there was some amount of information but not enough to prevent that.