'India focus instead of extremists may undermine Pak stability'

By Lalit K Jha

Washington, May 20 : The CIA Director has cautioned the Pakistani leadership that the countries stability would be at stake if they continued to focus on India as their primary threat instead of concentrating on the serious security problem posed by the Taliban and al-Qaeda.

Leon Panetta also told the Pakistani establishment that they have to clear the tribal areas - the safe havens - of the terrorists.

"I guess what I'm hoping for is that Pakistan recognises the danger that is involved in dealing with these areas and the threat it constitutes to their stability," Panetta said, in response to a question at the Pacific Council on International Policy in Los Angeles yesterday.

Observing that he understand the Pakistani concern about India, Panetta said: "I understand the historical concern that's always been there".

"But I have to tell you that if they don't pay attention to these areas while they're worried about India, this threat could undermine the stability of the country, and that's why they have to face it," the CIA boss underlined.

Panetta said he cautioned the Pakistani leadership before they entered into a peace agreement with the militants in the Swat Valley.