US: CPEC will give soft targets to terrorists

Washington: Director of National Intelligence, Daniel Coats said, “The emerging China-Pakistan Economic Corridor will probably offer militants additional targets”.

Testifying before a Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, The National Intelligence director held Pakistan responsible for deteriorating relations between India and Pakistan.

“Islamabad’s failure to curb support to anti-India militants and New Delhi’s growing intolerance of this policy, coupled with a perceived lack of progress in Pakistan’s investigations into the January 2016 Pathankot cross-border attack, set the stage for a deterioration of bilateral relations in 2016,” said Coats.

Speaking further on India-Pakistan relations, Coats said, “Increasing numbers of firefights along the Line of Control, including the use of artillery and mortars, might exacerbate the risk of unintended escalation between these nuclear-armed neighbours.”

Coats stated that Pakistan-based terrorist networks “will present a sustained threat to US interests in the region and continue to plan and conduct attacks in India and Afghanistan.”

Coats, however, expressed confidence stating that Pakistan “will probably be able to manage its internal security”, and that these groups will be focusing on soft targets.

“The groups we judge will pose the greatest threat to Pakistan’s internal security include Tehreek-e Taliban Pakistan, Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent, ISIS-K, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, and Lashkar-e Jhangvi al-Alami”, he said.