The fate of Foreign Secretary level talks between India and Pakistan hangs in fragile balance with Union Ministry of External Affairs seeking “prompt and decisive” action from Islamabad on Pathankot terror attack. Putting the ball in latter’s court, India asserted that it had already provided “actionable intelligence” on terror attack in Pathankot air base. According to Indian agencies, there are strong leads about Pakistan link of the dastardly attack that lasted over three days.
Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar and his Pakistani counterpart Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry are slated to hold talks on January 15 in Islamabad.
But the speculations are rife now that the talks may be put off to enable National Security Advisors (NSAs) to meet before that. The NSAs are expected to deliberate on Pathankot terror attack, where six terrorists, all believed to be Pakistan nationals, were killed by the security forces in counter-terror operations.
“Today is January 7 and there are 8 days to go before January 15,” MEA spokesperson Vikas Swarup told the press pack in New Delhi adding, “terrorist attack on Pathankot air base has once again put renewed focus on the challenges posed by the cross border terrorism”.
“As far as we are concerned the ball is now in Pakistan’s court. The immediate issue in front of us is Pakistan’s response to the terrorist attack and the actionable intelligence provided to it,” Vikas Swarup said referring to the telephonic conversation between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif at the height of the counter-terror operations.
“During that conversation our Prime Minister very strongly urged the Prime Minister of Pakistan to take action…. Actionable intelligence in regard to the terrorist attack and the links with the perpetrators in Pakistan were provided to the Pakistani side. The Pakistan Prime Minister promised us prompt and decisive action. We now wait that prompt and decisive action,” he said.
On a query by the press if there was any time-frame within which Pakistan should take action, Vikas Swarup emphasised, “We are not imposing any deadline. At the same time prompt means prompt and we will go by the common sense interpretation of that word”.
The MEA spokesperson also ruled out any immediate development on the meeting of the two NSAs ahead of the FS- level talks. “There has been no discussion with Pakistan on this,” he said.
He further dismissed the contention that government’s Pakistan policy was not consistent.
“The decision to commence a bilateral comprehensive dialogue with Pakistan followed a constructive meeting of the National Security Advisors in Bangkok in which the central concerns of terrorism, peace and security and tranquillity in the Line of Control were discussed,” he said stressing India’s Pakistan policy is “clear and consistent”.
(With inputs from the PTI)