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'Lashkar-e-Tayiba is bigger than Al Qaeda'

July 29, 2006 15:08 IST

Objecting to certain comments made by US Assistant Secretary of State Richard Boucher after the Mumbai bomb blasts, India has said that evidence about Pakistan's role in cross-border terrorism was stronger than what Washington had after the September 11, 2001 attacks.

National Security Adviser M K Narayanan said Pakistan-based terrorist group Lashkar-e-Toiba had international influence and it was important for the US to understand its ramifications.

'Mr Boucher did not talk to anyone of us. [But] he has made a statement,' Narayanan told Karan Thapar's Devil's Advocate programme on CNN-IBN when referred to the US official's remarks suggesting that India had no evidence to blame Pakistan for the Mumbai blasts that killed 200 people and injured more than 700 people.

"If he [Boucher] wished to have information, we are willing to talk to whoever is wanting to know the facts. He has not fallen into that category as of now," the NSA said.

Boucher had said that nobody has clinching evidence to pinpoint the perpetrators of the wave of deadly attacks in Mumbai.

'The evidence -- as far as who they were, who was responsible -- I don't think we've seen a lot yet. I think we need to be led by the evidence before we start trying to draw conclusions and make policy pronouncements on it," the US official had said.

Narayanan said the government has proof of how terrorism is controlled from Pakistan and in this regard mentioned the arrest of two foreign nationals in the aftermath of July 11 Mumbai blasts.

'As and when we are ready with all facts and evidence, we will do it,' he said when asked whether the government will furnish proof about Pakistani linkage to terrorism.

Apparently referring to the US, he said, 'we can convince you... Are you willing to believe it? You should believe it. If you believe, we will provide evidence.'

To a question, the NSA said 'what we have is stronger than what the US had [against Taliban] after 9/11' that prompted America to launch a war on Afghanistan.

'It is important from the US point of view to understand the ramifications of terrorism,' he said.

Contending that LeT is an integral part of Al Qaeda, and in 'some parts even bigger', Narayanan said the Pakistan-based terror outfit has linkages in many countries including those in Europe and Asia.

He said the LeT was a far greater threat than Al Qaeda due to its greater reach. 'LeT is an integral part of Al Qaeda but sometimes it becomes even bigger because of its contacts. We have not come across their involvement in the US but in Europe and Asia, they are very active.'

'LeT has many connections.... So the US has to pay special attention and not treat it as an India-only issue,' he said.

 

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