India: Terror talks with Pak priority over dialogue

RSTV Bureau
FILE: File photo of Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar with Union External Affairs minister Sushma Swaraj.  Photo - PTI

FILE: File photo of Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar with Union External Affairs minister Sushma Swaraj.
Photo – PTI

India has indicated that Pakistan’s action against terrorists and terror organisations will decide the strategy India will adopt in its talks with Pakistan. Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar said that talks with Pakistan on the issue of terrorism were more important than the Indo-Pak dialogue process.

“In the aftermath of a terror attack, if you ask me what do you give priority to, a terrorist attack or a diplomatic dialogue, I think the answer should be obvious,” Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar said during an interactive session at the Raisina Dialogue, a conclave on geo-economics and geo-politics.

After the attack on the Pathankot air base on January 2, 2016 that killed 7 Indian soldiers, India and Pakistan had agreed to defer the impending Foreign Secretary-level talks.

Jaishankar was replying to a question on whether the talks between India and Pakistan were linked to action by Pakistan on the information given to them by India.

India had blamed terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed for the Pathankot attack and sought action against the perpetrators of the attack which had led to the postponement of Indo-Pak Foreign Secretary-level talks. India alleged Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar was the mastermind behind the attack.

Jaishankar said both the countries were in touch with each other following the Pathankot attack, primarily at the level of National Security Advisers. He also said that he was in touch with his Pakistani counterpart.

Talking about Indo-Pak ties, Jaishankar said India was for a “much more modern relationship” with Islamabad but for that to happen Pakistan needed to change its attitude towards a number of issues, especially terrorism.

Underlining the need for better connectivity between India and Pakistan, he said, “It takes two hands to clap” and that India would like to have same kind of ties with Islamabad like with other neighbours.

“I cannot think of any Prime Minister of India who did not strive for better relations with Pakistan. There may be differences in nuances, pace and packaging,” he added.

Last month, Pakistan had lodged an FIR into the Pathankot terror attack case which was seen by India as a “step forward” in bringing justice to the perpetrators. The FIR was filed against “unknown persons” though India had specifically named Masood Azhar as the mastermind.

India had also submitted evidence to show that the six men who opened fire at the air base came from across the border, and demanded action against the terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed led by Azhar.

Yesterday, Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s Foreign Affairs Advisor Sartaj Aziz said the 6-member SIT, set up by Pakistan may visit India soon and hoped that the Foreign Secretary-level talks will be scheduled very soon.

Pakistan also set up a a five-member Joint Investigation Team (JIT) to probe the terror attack.

(With inputs from PTI)