In mid 2009, the United States feared that a Pakistani militant group would launch another terrorist attack in India similar to the Mumbai massacre of November 2008 which killed about 170 people, said a report in The Hindu, an Indian English-language daily newspaper.
According to leaked diplomatic cables, in June 2009, the U.S. said it had “credible reports” that Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), the Pakistani terrorist group, was planning another assault in India and demanded that the Pakistan government prevent it.
The U.S. warned Islamabad that if it was unable (or unwilling) to prevent such an attack, it could compromise the movement of military and non-military aid to Pakistan.
A cable from the U.S. State Department from June 23, 2009 asked the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad “to underscore to senior Pakistani government officials the critical importance of Pakistani cooperation in preventing [LeT] attacks on India.”
The cable further stated: “There are credible reports of advanced LeT planning for attacks against India. An attack at this time -- especially from Pakistani territory -- would undermine progress for regional cooperation, divert resources from the military campaign in the west, and could hinder the [U.S. government’s] ability to provide Pakistan with military and economic assistance without restrictive conditions.”
The U.S. admonished the Pakistani government to find and bring to justice the perpetrators of the Mumbai massacre from seven months before.
“Another Mumbai-style or major LeT attack on India, especially if launched from Pakistani soil, could close this historic opportunity and could risk a stronger Indian response than that which occurred after Mumbai,” the cable said.
In addition, the State Department asked its diplomats in Islamabad to beseech the Pakistani authorities “to take all steps it can to eliminate LeT permanently, while in the short term taking all possible action to disrupt LeT attack plans and other activities.”
A few weeks prior to this warning, according to another diplomatic cable leaked by Wikileaks and obtained by The Hindu, the Indian Home Minister P. Chidambaram warned the U.S. Undersecretary of State Bill Burns that if Pakistani terrorists launched another attack, New Delhi would have no option but to respond with appropriate force.
“The people of India will expect us to respond. We won't have any other choice,” Chidambaram reportedly warned.
Burns apparently emphasized that his government was pressuring Pakistani authorities to suppress terrorist groups, but also conceded that Washington “was frustrated by the lack of demonstrable action against some groups.”