Feb. 14--Relations between India and Pakistan will remain tense with continued violence on the Line of Control and the "risk of escalation if there is another high-profile terrorist attack in India", according to a new worldwide threat assessment released by the US intelligence community on Tuesday.

Pakistan continues to maintain ties with terrorists, and groups supported by it will use safe havens on Pakistani soil to "plan and conduct attacks in India and Afghanistan", the report warned.

It further warned that Pakistan's "eroding position relative to India", persisting economic weakness and domestic security issues will "exacerbate" its long-held fears of international isolation and drive it to actions that run counter to US goals in the region. The report didn't specify those "actions".

In the assessment of US intelligence, as testified by director of national intelligence Dan Coats, India-Pakistan ties will remain tense "with continued violence on the Line of Control and the risk of escalation if there is another high-profile terrorist attack in India or an uptick in violence on the Line of Control".

Coats' prepared testimony to the Senate select committee on intelligence portrayed Pakistan as a bleakly obstinate country that continues to host and shelter terrorists.

"Militant groups supported by Islamabad will continue to take advantage of their safe havens in Pakistan to plan and conduct attacks in India and Afghanistan, including against US interests," he said.

Intelligence agencies believe Pakistan has not severed its ties with terrorists despite unprecedented pressure from the Trump administration through a mix of public and privately conveyed threats over the past few months, topped by the suspension of roughly $2 billion in security-related aid.

"Pakistan will continue to threaten US interests by deploying new nuclear weapons capabilities, maintaining its ties to militants (and) restricting counterterrorism cooperation," Coats said.

He added Pakistan was "drawing closer to China", a country that is increasingly described by Americans -- especially the Trump administration -- as a threat, a rival and a "strategic competitor" to the US.

This is as near a confirmation as has been forthcoming from the US of Pakistan's continues ties to terrorism, despite its claims that it has thrown out all terrorists, specially those operating across the country's western border in Afghanistan, where they attack US-led coalition forces.

The outlook for India-China relations was similarly grim: "We expect relations between India and China to remain tense and possibly to deteriorate further, despite the negotiated settlement to their three-month border standoff in August, elevating the risk of unintentional escalation."


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