Washington: Encouraged with the anti-terrorism cooperation between Bangladesh and India to thwart plans of groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba to "inflitrate into India", the US Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia, Robert Blake said, "We're worried about terrorist attacks against India, in particular right now.”

Asked about the difference between the current regime of Sheikh Hasina and the one that was in power between 2001 and 2006, Blake said, "I think the most significant difference is the priority that Sheikh Hasina's government has attached to greater cooperation with India.”

He said, "We've been very encouraged by the progress that Bangladesh and India have made over the last two years under the leadership of the current government. And our own bilateral cooperation is very strong as well.”

Worried about the presence of such terrorist groups which pose threat to the word, Blake said, “South and Central Asia had become an important strategic partner and priority for the United States.’

"One of the very first steps she took after becoming Prime Minister was to re-establish close ties with India, and that included very close counter-terrorist ties," he said.
The US was following very closely the activities of groups like Pakistan based Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e- Mohammad, and even groups like Jamaati Mujahadeen in Bangladesh, he said citing it as a reason for priority to counter terrorism cooperation with Dhaka.

Asked about South Asian nations' response to a counter-terrorism task force, Blake said, "I thinkfrom our perspective, the bilateral cooperation between all these countries has been pretty good, with the possible exception of Pakistan, where, again, I think that's a very high priority for India and for Pakistan."

The US was "very encouraged" about the March 28 meeting between the Indian and Pakistani home ministers "And we hope that that can get counter-terrorism cooperation back on a more solid footing," he said.

(Agencies)