- No clarity yet on foreign secretary-level talks scheduled for Friday
- Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh says India has no reason to distrust Pakistan’s assurance that it will take effective action on Indian inputs regarding Pathankot attack
With barely three days left for the proposed Indo-Pak Foreign Secretary-level talks in Islamabad, a clarity was yet to emerge on Tuesday amid mounting suspense whether India will go ahead or postpone the parleys by a few weeks.
Indian government sources said on Tuesday a decision was yet to be taken on India’s participation at the talks on Friday – as proposed by Pakistan.
Following the Pathankot terror attack, India had asked Pakistan to take “prompt and decisive” action against the terrorists behind the strike and linked it with the FS-level talks. The sources said there was a possibility of postponing the talks by a few weeks.
Meanwhile, an Indian news channel, NDTV reported that Indian National Security Adviser Ajit Doval is likely to meet with his Pakistani counterpart Nasser Khan Janjua in “secret” in a third country in a bid to take the diplomatic talks forward.
The meeting between the NSAs is likely to be held in the next few days ahead of the planned talks between the foreign secretaries of the two countries, NDTV reported.
After the Pathankot attack, India had said it has provided to Pakistan actionable intelligence to act upon the perpetrators of the terrorist act.
India has identified Masood Azhar, chief of banned terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammed, as the mastermind of the attack. It also blamed his brother Rauf and five others for carrying out the attack on January 2 that left all six terrorists and seven Indian security personnel dead.
Earlier in the day, India’s Home Minister Rajnath Singh said India has no reason to distrust Pakistan’s assurance that it will take effective action on inputs given about the perpetrators of the attack.
“Pakistan government has said it will take effective action. I think we should wait,” Singh told reporters adding, “There is no reason to distrust them (Pakistan) so early.” India has provided telephone number in Pakistan contacted by the airbase attackers and given other inputs.
India has called on Islamabad to act on the information if the FS-level talks are to take place on Friday.
On Monday, reports said that Pakistani law enforcement agencies have picked up “some suspects” connected to Pathankot attack from Bahwalapur district, the hometown of Maulana Masood Azhar. There were reports of “some arrests” having been made in this regard but police did not confirm any arrest related to the Pathankot attack.
The process of resumption of talks was set in motion after a meeting between Prime Ministers of India and Pakistan in Paris on November 30 on the sidelines of Climate Change Conference in Paris.
The meet was followed by the NSAs of India and Pakistan meeting in Bangkok a week later following which External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj visited Pakistan to attend Heart of Asia Conference during which the two sides announced the resumption of talks under “Bilateral Comprehensive Dialogue” process.
In a surprise move, Prime Minister Narendra Modi also visited Lahore on December 25 to greet his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif on his birthday.
However, the Pathankot terror attack that took place just a day into the new year has cast a shadow over the renewed ties.