India and Pakistan have nuclear weapons and the capability to deliver them to targets in the region, but both nations are "friends of the United States and don’t threaten" its territory, said a senior US official.
This was stated by US Assistant Secretary for Intelligence and Research Thomas Fingar to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.
Fingar said there was a broad consensus in the international community that concurred with the judgement that terrorism was the single greatest threat to Americans, both at home and abroad, and that proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, missiles and certain types of advanced conventional weapons was a close and dangerous second.
Diplomacy, he said, was critical to US efforts to contain, counter and diminish the threats the country faces. The normalisation of relations with China and demise of the Soviet Union, he said, dramatically reduced the danger of nuclear war and eliminated or transformed fundamentally a wide variety of associated threats.
But the end of the Cold War also brought many changes to other aspects of international life, including the erosion of constraints or "client" states, the re-emergence of long-repressed political aspirations and the rise of ethnic and religious hatreds.
Former Director of Central Intelligence Jim Woolsey described the change as the displacement of a "few big dragons" by lots of dangerous snakes. But, said Fingar, it was, and is, more than that.