'Pak nexus with terrorists strong'

Headleys statements show that ultras have links with official agencies

National Security Adviser Shiv Shankar Menon said whatever Headley revealed to the interrogators of the US Federal Bureau of Investigation and India’s National Investigation Agency confirmed that the nexus between terrorist groups and official establishments in Pakistan was “getting stronger” and that made it difficult to deal with the menace of terrorism.

He said the government would soon set up a counter terrorism centre.  “I think we know what needs to be done and we also know who is responsible for terrorism.We have a much clearer picture today of the infrastructure of terrorism, the ecosystem that supports terrorism which frankly is not confined to South Asia but affects the entire world,” he said.

Menon made these remarks  in his inaugural speech at the ORF-Heritage Dialogue on “Countering Terrorism in South Asia: Perspectives from US and India” here. “For us, it has been brought home most recently by what we learn from Headley which confirmed many of the things we knew before. And, it is really the links with the official establishment and with the existing intelligence agencies...it is that nexus which makes it a much harder phenomenon for us to deal with,” he said.

Menon’s remarks came a week after Home Secretary G K Pillai told journalists here that Headley’s revelations confirmed that the Pakistani Inter Services Intelligence had a direct, and not peripheral, role in controlling and coordinating the November 26, 2008, terrorist attacks in Mumbai.

Pillai’s comment had triggered a diplomatic row between two countries. Qureshi, in a joint press conference with Krishna, virtually put Pillai’s remarks and the anti-India provocative statements of the JuD chief Hafiz Saeed — a suspected 26/11 mastermind — in the same bracket.

The NSA said that it was today actually even less possible to be optimistic about the success of existing counter-terrorism strategies in South Asia   in Pakistan or in Afghanistan. “It is not because we do not understand the problem or the strategies are intrinsically flawed. No. But I think we know what needs to be done and we also know who is responsible,” said Menon.

“Unfortunately, what we know is that these links or nexus (between terror outfits and official establishment) would not be broken soon. If anything, it is getting stronger,” he said.

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