Director of US National Intelligence James Clapper claimed that Pakistan’s provision of safe havens to Lashkar-e-Tayyaba (LeT) will continue to be a key irritant in its relations with India which, he said, wants to maintain stable ties with Pakistan but views its as a ‘direct terrorism threat and a regional source of instability.’
In a testimony on “World Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community” presented at a hearing of the United States Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday, Clapper said that Pakistani Premier Nawaz Sharif’s pledges to tackle energy, economic and security issues in the country fell short of high public expectations.
“The premier’s standing weakened when he reportedly sought the Army’s assistance to handle the protracted opposition protests in the second half of 2014, ” he added.
He said that he believes the Pakistani government, in 2015, will probably focus on diminishing the capabilities of the outlawed Tehreek-e-Taliban (TTP) which was behind December 16′s Peshawar school massacre in which over 100 children were killed.
Clapper further predicted in the testimony that Pakistan will probably continue to implement some economic reforms but undertaking energy and economic reforms in the future will not be devoid of challenges and is likely to face opposition from the popular and political fronts.
Speaking on Pak-Afghan ties, Clapper said, ” We judge that Pakistan will aim to establish positive rapport with the new Afghan government, but longstanding distrust and unresolved disputes between the countries will prevent substantial progress.”
He added that India is ‘looking for options to blunt the influence of Pakistani-supported groups and ensure that Afghanistan does not revert to a haven for anti-India militants’.