Many negotiations later, it was the attack on the Pathankot airbase that finally made authorities in the United States agree to a deposition by 26/11 scout David Coleman Headley before a Mumbai court via video-conference, a senior source in the government claimed Wednesday.
As details emerged that the Pathankot terror strike was plotted in Pakistan, US authorities agreed to let Headley give his testimony. The source claimed US intelligence had provided Pathankot-related inputs to India, even sounding an alert about a likely attack. Headley’s account of the Lashkar-e-Toiba and Hafiz Saeed, the source said, will also impact efforts to fast-track talks between New Delhi and Islamabad.
With Headley detailing the role of the Pakistan ISI in providing moral, financial and military support to terrorist organisations such as the Jaish-e-Mohammad, Lashkar-e-Toiba and Hizbul Mujahideen, “the atmosphere will hardly remain conducive for talks with Pakistan,” the source said.
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Following the Pathankot attack last month, India and Pakistan agreed to reschedule Foreign Secretary-level talks, planned for January 15, and hold them in the “very near future”. India also described Pakistan’s crackdown against Jaish-e-Muhammad members linked to the Pathankot attack as an “important and positive first step”. New Delhi also agreed to host Pakistan’s Special Investigation Team, announced by Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar spoke to Pakistan counterpart Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhary and they decided to defer the talks with “mutual consent”. Asked why the talks were rescheduled if India was welcoming Pakistani action against Jaish, the MEA said the Foreign Secretaries felt that more time was required before they could meet “away from the shadow” of the investigations into the Pathankot attack. Headley’s new testimony could now extend the wait for resumption of talks.