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US aids Pak, India intelligence exchange on terror

world Updated: May 22, 2009 01:39 IST
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India and Pakistan have begun trading intelligence on Islamic extremists, as a result of the prodding by the US, paving the way for an unprecedented cooperation between the two nuclear-armed South Asian nations.

The CIA arranged for New Delhi and Islamabad to share information on Pakistan based Lashkar-e-Tayyeba, the group blamed for last November’s terrorist attack on Mumbai, the Wall Street Journal reported citing US officials.

The two countries are also trading information on Taliban commanders who are leading the insurgency against Pakistan's government.

“America hopes that when India and Pakistan see that they face a common threat in Pakistan based militant groups,” the paper said and quoted US officials to say this could make Islamabad put more focus on the battle at home. “We have to satisfy the Mumbai question, and show India that the threat is abating,” the official involved in developing Washington’s South Asia strategy said.

India and Pakistan traded military threats across their border in the wake of the Mumbai attacks, in which terrorists left more than 170 people dead.

Intelligence sharing on Mumbai has led to a somewhat more frequent exchange of information. India and Pakistan have shared “a lot” of information with each other about the Mumbai attack, said an official at Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence spy agency.

Also the Barack Obama administration would love to see India and Pakistan re-engage in confidence-building measures and talk about Kashmir and other areas of difference, according to a top defence department official.

“There is a lot they can do to lower tensions, and they had done a lot before the Mumbai attacks,” Michele Flournoy, undersecretary of defence for policy said in an interview with the Defence Writers’ Group posted on the department website.