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Pathankot probe: India calls Pakistan action positive first step, says Secy talks deferred to ‘near future’

India deferred a decision on the talks apparently because of lack of confirmation on Azhar's arrest. There is speculation that the NSAs of the two countries may meet before the FS-level talks.

Written by Shubhajit Roy | New Delhi | Updated: January 15, 2016 8:35 am
vikas swarup759 MEA spokersperson Vikas Swarup

Describing Pakistan’s crackdown against Jaish-e-Muhammad members linked to the Pathankot attack as an “important and positive first step”, India and Pakistan agreed Thursday to reschedule Foreign Secretary-level talks, planned for January 15, and hold them in the “very near future”.

In a first, India also agreed to host Pakistan’s Special Investigation Team (SIT), which has been formed by Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Indian intelligence agencies will cooperate with their Pakistan counterparts. This is very different from the post-26/11 investigations when India did not agree to the idea of having Pakistani investigators in Mumbai.

Analysis: India-Pak Foreign Secretary Level Talks Deferred

Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar spoke to Pakistan counterpart Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhary Thursday and they decided to defer the talks with “mutual consent”, Vikas Swarup, spokesperson for the Ministry of External Affairs, said. The decision was taken after National Security Advisor Ajit Doval met Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his return from Paris.

Asked why have the talks been rescheduled if India was welcoming the Pakistani action against Jaish, Swarup said the Foreign Secretaries felt that more time was required before they meet “away from the shadow” of the investigations into the Pathankot terror strike.

On India’s bottomline for the Foreign Secretaries to meet — discuss the modalities of resumption of the Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue process — Swarup said, “We are looking for credible and comprehensive action to bring all the perpetrators of the Pathankot terror attack to justice.”

He refused, however, to link the arrest or detention of Jaish chief Maulana Masood Azhar to the Foreign Secretary-level talks.

Sources told The Indian Express that reports of arrest or detention of Masood Azhar was just a “ruse”. New Delhi, sources said, wants Pakistan to show them copies of FIRs and sections of the Pakistan law under which Azhar has been arrested or taken into custody.

“We will go by what objective evidence we see on the ground, not empty statements. So far, what Pakistan has done, we welcome,” Swarup said.

In Islamabad, Pakistan also declined to confirm the arrest or detention of Azhar. “I am not aware of such arrests,” Pakistan Foreign Office spokesperson Qazi Khalilluah said.

Also Read | Pak on dangerous road, God’s army won’t feel my absence: Jaish chief Masood Azhar goes online

Swarup said the statement issued by the Pakistan government Wednesday on the investigations into the Pathankot attack conveyed that “considerable progress” had been made in the probe against terrorist elements linked to the strike.

“The action taken against JeM is an important and positive first step. We also note that the government of Pakistan is considering to send a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to investigate the Pathankot terror attack. We look forward to the visit of the Pakistani SIT and our investigative agencies will extend all necessary cooperation to bring the perpetrators of the attack to justice,” Swarup said.

He rejected reports of the NSAs of the two countries meeting in Paris. He said the NSAs were in regular touch.

Swarup said the dialogue process, which started with the NSAs meeting in Bangkok and continued with the External Affairs Minister’s visit to Islamabad and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s brief visit to Lahore, was in “danger” because of the terrorist attack in Pathankot.

The spokesperson said that the action by Pakistan on the Pathankot terror strike was “in line” with their own commitment to get rid of terrorism.

Asked about US President Barack Obama’s State of The Union address in which he said Pakistan was a terror haven, Swarup refused comment.

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  1. M
    Jan 14, 2016 at 7:19 pm
    (Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Vikas Sawrup told journalists that the statement issued by the stan government yesterday on the investigations into the Pathankot attack conve that “considerable progress” has been made in the probe against ....) Literally, this is first time India also behaving as someone who has come out of teenage years. In the past one could see usually Bollywood dialogs making bedrocks of "diplomacy" - ending in a compeion with aim who could "score" more! Yes, there is nondenyingbyhevfact that mature public who make more and more sense will automatically force their otherwise childish leaders (if they have not learned the lesson before they became leaders) to behave a little better and in a matured fashion. Another option: working together to create a SAARC anti-terrorism Task Force by India, stan, Bangladesh and other countries in the body will be a another step in right direction. Others, instead of helping individual countries in anti terror fight can of course strengthen a legitimate SAARC body (if created) to do the job with more responsibility/authenticity that will ultimately add to the brighter image of the people of the region as a w. Everyone will feel part of the solution and all good people in the region will automatically put their weight behind something which no individual person or even a individual country can deny (at least for fear of perception war or even for fear of backlash).
    1. M
      Jan 14, 2016 at 6:57 pm
      Take the wind out of stani and Indian "stani" (opposition) sail on Pak's request.
      1. M
        Jan 14, 2016 at 6:44 pm
        Very good and matured approach by India. Don't GIVE or NOT GIVE any reasons to others to blame India. Next of course would be to ask whoever giving resources to stan to fight terrorism, allocate part of it to India so it can put it to some good and sensible use. In fact whatever stan gets as help and aid one day it will use it against India - a sensible step must be taken before that happens.
        1. G
          Jan 14, 2016 at 8:23 am
          One thing can be said with certainty, the stan army is full with fundamental ideology. In fact it can convert itself as is army or taliban army.the army is the real power in stan. They continue to play a low grade war just because they are worried about the impact from USA , Russia and even China.pak has no future,only death and destructions
          1. A
            Jan 14, 2016 at 11:12 am
            After Modiji became the prime minister India became the No 1 !!!!! Army, Navy and air force in the world with which even USA and China is afraid off. This is apart from the most modernized weapons which are also sold to US Europe and China.
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