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'26/11 might have led to Indo-Pak N-war'

By Lalit K Jha
September 01, 2011 10:16 IST
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The 2008 Mumbai terrorist attack by the banned Pakistani militant outfit Lashkar-e-Tayiba almost started a war between India and Pakistan that might have resulted in some kind of nuclear conflict, former United States Ambassador to India Timothy Roemer has said.

Roemer, who served as the 22nd US ambassador to India from July 2009 to June 2011, however did not divulge any further details of his conclusion that 26/11 could have led to a nuclear war between the two South Asian neighbours.

"Those attacks killed 177 people in Mumbai two years ago. Six Americans were killed. And they almost started a war between Pakistan and India that might have resulted in some kind of a nuclear war. So this self-radicalisation issue is a critically important one," Roemer said on Wednesday at a discussion on Status of National Security and the Implementation of the 9/11 Commission's Recommendations.

The former US envoy, a member of the 9/11 National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States set up in 2002, said he feared a scenario in which a terrorist group gets hold of nuclear weapon and an undetected self-radicalised or a cell in the United States.

"We're often asked a question; I think every one of us: What keeps you awake at night? And I would answer the question, two things: a terrorist group getting a nuclear weapon and a self-radicalised or a cell in the United States that is undetected and can pull off a catastrophic event here," Roemer said.

"Now, several months ago we had something that almost combined both. There was a person by the name of David Headley, who was a terrorist living in Chicago, who could travel between India, Pakistan and the United States seamlessly. And he was the guy that planned -- helped plan the attacks on Mumbai," he said in response to a question.

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Lalit K Jha in Washington
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