Putting the “ball in Pakistan’s court” Thursday, New Delhi linked the Foreign Secretary-level talks to the “prompt” response Islamabad takes on “actionable intelligence” provided by India on the Pathankot attack.
Asked whether the January 15 talks between Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar and his Pakistan counterpart Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry have been put off, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Vikas Swarup said “there are eight days to go before January 15”.
“The terrorist attack on Pathankot airbase has once again put renewed focus on the challenges posed by 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,” Swarup told reporters.
Referring to the telephone conversation between the two Prime Ministers Tuesday, Swarup said, “During that conversation, our Prime Minister very strongly urged the Prime Minister of Pakistan to take action.” In a statement Tuesday, the PMO said “actionable intelligence” regarding the terror attack had been provided to Pakistan. “Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif assured Prime Minister Modi that his government would take prompt and decisive action against the terrorists,” the statement said.
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Asked if the NSAs of the two countries will meet ahead of the Foreign Secretary-level talks, Swarup said the matter has yet not been discussed. Underlining that the government’s Pakistan policy is “clear and consistent”, Swarup said the way forward will be dictated by the “prompt” response from Pakistan but there will be no deadline.
Stating that a positive atmosphere was created by Prime Minister Modi’s Pakistan visit last month, he said, “We had extended a hand of friendship to Pakistan but we will not countenance cross-border terrorist attacks. 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 tranquility on the Line of Control were discussed.”