The US and India are working together on containing Pakistan-based LeT that over the years has evolved as a dangerous terrorist outfit and now aspires to hit America, a top Pentagon commander told lawmakers in Washington on Tuesday.
Testifying before the powerful Senate Armed Services Committee, Admiral Robert Willard, Commander of the US Pacific Command (USPACOM), said the two countries are pursuing a strategic partnership and a steady progress have been made in their military to military cooperation over the past decade.
"Pursuing a US-India strategic partnership through a close alignment of respective regional security interests is a priority for the US department of defense and USPACOM," he said.
In 2011, he said Pacific Command's Indian Engagement Initiative that resourced and hosted Mumbai counter terrorist specialists for training, exercises, and exchanges throughout the US, together with capacity-building activities with South Asian partners are mainly focused on containing LeT and contributing to CT self-sufficiency of the sub-region's militaries.
"Our security relationship involves strategic to tactical-level dialogues, increasingly robust military exercises, security assistance, and personnel exchanges. The US and India have made steady progress in military-to-military cooperation over the past decade," Willard said.
Willard said while several violent extremist organizations (VEOs) conduct facilitation, recruitment and seek safe havens throughout South Asia, Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) presents a particularly acute problem.
"Responsible for many attacks in India, including the horrific attacks into Mumbai, LeT is headquartered in Pakistan, affiliated with al Qaeda and other VEOs, and contributes to terrorist operations in Afghanistan and aspires to operate against Asia, Europe and North America," Willard said.