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Pak close to being failed state: India

Pakistan is "perilously close" to becoming a failed state and is already "pretty dysfunctional," a senior Indian government official has said.

world Updated: Mar 23, 2009 15:26 IST

Pakistan is "perilously close" to becoming a failed state and is already "pretty dysfunctional," a senior Indian government official has said.

Home Minister P. Chidambaram also voiced fears that the rise of the Taliban in neighbouring Pakistan could have a spillover effect on India.

"I do not think it (Pakistan) is a failed state but if it does not arrest the decline, it is perilously close to becoming one," he said in an interview on India's CNN-IBN network to be aired late Monday.

"It is pretty dysfunctional today," Chidambaram said.

Asked if India has a stake in ensuring stable civilian rule in Pakistan, he replied: "Of course a stable civilian democratic government means that we know who we are dealing with and there are checks and balances."

He added that the rise of the Taliban in Pakistan "will encourage fundamentalists in India to imitate them, and number two the Taliban could become a sponsor of terror in India."

"Therefore, I do not think we in India can view this lightly. We have to take this as a very serious and grave development," he said.

Asked whether there was already concern that Taliban influence in Pakistan was encouraging fundamentalists in India, he said: "Yes, fundamentalists of both kinds."

When asked whether he meant both Hindu and Muslim, he replied, "Yes."

India has accused the banned Pakistan-based Islamist group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) as well as "official agencies" in Pakistan of being behind last year's Islamic militant attacks on Mumbai which left 165 dead.