Pak promises to block terror attacks in India during Obama visit

19 January 2015

Even as the US continues to perceive Pakistan as a more geopolitically important ally than India, it is clearly aware that the country is a hotbed of military-backed terrorist activity, mostly aimed at its neighbour.

Ahead of President Barack Obama's visit to India, the US has asked Pakistan to ensure that there is no cross-border terror incident during the trip and warned of ''consequences'' if any such attack is traced back to the country.

Pakistan reportedly responded today by assuring the United States, its biggest source of funding, that it would prevent any such attack.

Pakistan's quick assurance to the US comes as just last week US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Islamabad and announced US assistance worth $250 million to the country.

Just days before Obama is to land in India, the US gave a clear warning to Pakistan to ensure that no terror activity from across the border should occur during the president's India visit.

Obama will travel to New Delhi later this week to attend the Republic Day parade on 26 January, the first US president to do so. US and Indian security agencies are taking extra care as he will be on an open-air platform at Rajpath for more than two hours.

The US warning comes in wake of previous instances when Pakistan-based militant groups have carried out attacks in India coinciding with high-profile visits from the US.

Militants had shot dead 36 Sikhs on 20 March 2000 in the Anantnag district of Jammu & Kashmir, coinciding with the visit of the then US President Bill Clinton to India.

Also, a top Indian Army commander had recently warned that Pakistan-trained terrorists are planning to hit soft targets including schools and civilian areas.

"Two hundred Pakistani trained terrorists are waiting for an opportunity to infiltrate into India," Lt General K H Singh, who commands in J&K, said last week.

Meanwhile, Obama's Republic Day security will be controlled not by India but by US personnel, who even sought a no-fly zone over Delhi, which the Modi government reject the request, as this which would have caused the cancellation of the air show a highlight of the Republic day celebrations.

But nonetheless, New Delhi has been turned into a fortress, with a seven-layer security ring in place around the VVIP enclosure at the venue and the airspace over the area to be monitored by especially dedicated radar.

US forces in Afghanistan are also keeping a close eye on the activities of the terrorist groups in the region. The US embassy in Pakistan too has been alerted.

Ahead of the presidential trip, there is reportedly an unprecedented level of intelligence-sharing between India and the US. At least 10,000 paramilitary troops will be deployed along with the 80,000-strong Delhi Police to ensure fool-proof security in and around Rajpath, the main public venue.

Whether the general public will even get a glimpse of the parade (outside of TV news) is a moot question, as the government once again bends backwards to accommodate US demands.

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