NSAs in touch… hope this helps both countries come to table: Pakistan envoy Abdul Basit

Abdul Basit claimed that Kulbhushan Jadhav, the former Indian Navy officer sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on the charge of spying, had provided Pakistani authorities a lot of information, enabling them to bust what he called several sleeper cells and local operatives.

Written by Jyoti Malhotra | New Delhi | Updated: August 1, 2017 7:53 am
abdul basit, nawaz sharif, pakistan envoy, india pakistan tensions, indo pak relations, india pakistan ties, Abdul Basit said, “We are in touch with the SAARC secretariat in Kathmandu, if not this year, then perhaps next year. (File photo)

The National Security Advisors of India and Pakistan have been in touch and have met, at least once in recent weeks, to explore ways to resume the dialogue process. Outgoing Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit, in an interview with The Indian Express, confirmed that NSAs Ajit Doval and Nasser Khan Janjua have been in touch. “I believe they are in touch with each other. I don’t know if they met. Let us hope this will help both countries to come to the negotiating table,” he said.

Asked if the meeting took place in Moscow on May 24 on the margins of an international security conference, Basit said, “You may like to ask your NSA to confirm.” In the interview, his last before he leaves India after three-and-half years during which the roller-coaster relationship touched several highs and lows, Basit said the SAARC summit will be postponed to next year.

He also claimed that Kulbhushan Jadhav, the former Indian Navy officer sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on the charge of spying, had provided Pakistani authorities a lot of information, enabling them to bust what he called several sleeper cells and local operatives. The Indian Express has learnt that Doval and Janjua, who famously broke the ice over several cigarette breaks during their meeting in Bangkok in early December 2015 — which was followed on December 25 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi flying to Lahore and Raiwind to wish then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on his birthday — had met on the margins of the 8th International Security Conference in Zavidova, outside Moscow, on May 24.

Asked what the two NSAs had discussed and whether it included Jammu and Kashmir, Basit ruled this out, saying “(Jammu &) Kashmir we don’t expect them to discuss, we have a different stream to do that.” The Doval-Janjua meeting, sources said, was focused on both sides finding a way to return to the dialogue — or “negotiating” table, as Basit put it — so that they could pick up where they left off, after the Pathankot attack in January 2016 had succeeded in destroying the camaraderie and trust that both prime ministers had built exactly a week earlier when they met in Lahore and Raiwind.

Resolving the Pathankot conundrum seems key to understanding the current phase of the India-Pakistan relationship, although with the disqualification of Nawaz Sharif, there is a sense that another unresolved chapter is about to close. Basit also confirmed in the interview that the SAARC summit will not be held in Pakistan again this year, but postponed to 2018. He did not give any reasons, only pointing out that Pakistan was in touch with the SAARC secretariat in Kathmandu, the nodal office for the summit.

“We are in touch with the SAARC secretariat in Kathmandu, if not this year, then perhaps next year. We are in August already and these summits need preparation. My personal feeling is that it will be held next year,” Basit said.

On the Kulbhushan Jadhav case, Basit said: “Commander Jadhav’s case was sensitive because he was involved not only in espionage but also in subversion.” He refused to commit giving a visa to Jadhav’s mother for Pakistan, saying that India had pre-empted that gesture by taking the matter to the International Court of Justice at The Hague and that Pakistan would wait until the ICJ verdict to take a call on the matter. Basit claimed that Jadhav had given the Pakistani authorities a lot of information on his activities, that he had travelled under the fake name of Mubarak Hussein Patel when he was arrested, that he had been involved in serious terror activities and it was not the first time he had travelled to Pakistan when he was picked up.

“Since his arrest, we have arrested hundreds… more than hundred operatives in Pakistan and busted several sleeper cells,” Basit said. He also confirmed that Pakistan had asked India and Nepal for information on the whereabouts of retired ISI Colonel Habib Zahir, who ostensibly disappeared on the India-Nepal border in Lumbini in early April. “There are apprehensions that he may be in India’s custody, there is no harm in asking India. He may have strayed into India. In these situations, there is no harm in asking,” Basit said.

It has been speculated that Zahir has been picked up for a potential spy swap with Jadhav, but Basit rejected the idea. “These are apples and oranges. There is no question of such a thing,” he said. He added that the Indian authorities had not replied so far to Pakistan’s request on Zahir.

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  1. R
    Raoul Magic
    Aug 1, 2017 at 5:27 pm
    Hang him, that is what we must do: H A N G H I M>>>>
    Reply
    1. D
      Damodar Biswal
      Aug 1, 2017 at 12:17 pm
      Stop funding n helping the terrorists.Peace will return to the valley n Indo -pak dialogue will resume.
      Reply
      1. V
        Venkatraman Shenoy
        Aug 1, 2017 at 11:05 am
        This guy, Basit, is a stupid man. India will never agree to unconditional talks. Pakistan must first switch off the terror taps and give evidence of it. Then, and only then will India decide on talks.
        Reply
        1. K
          Kamal Pasha
          Aug 1, 2017 at 12:14 pm
          Venkatraman Shenoy : If India don't agree for unconditional talks, who cares. Don't talk. After visiting the half world , Modi has completely failed to isolate Pakistan. On the contrary India has been isolated by his visits.
          Reply
          1. D
            Damodar Biswal
            Aug 1, 2017 at 12:21 pm
            Mr.Pakistani,Modi's foreign policy has yielded the desired result.Pakistan has been isolated.Some ISI supported terrorists have been declared international terrorists.Pakistan is just short of being called a terrorist state.USA has stopped the pocket money of the ISI.What more do u want.?If Pakistan still feels that it is insufficient then only God can save the country.
        2. M
          Michelle:Vedic:human
          Aug 1, 2017 at 10:30 am
          This porky man ba-S-H-I-T is a a-s-S hole,---his ra-n-d-Di AMMI got banged in BURQHA in the desert and forever ba-S-H-I-T became slave of the deserti-an WAHABIS,----Jai hind.
          Reply
          1. K
            Kamal Pasha
            Aug 1, 2017 at 2:27 pm
            Michelle:Vedic: human : Though your comment has been moderated, but I am so glad to make you more crazy. Ha Ha. Jai .
            Reply
          2. Y
            yash sehgal
            Aug 1, 2017 at 10:10 am
            Basit is the one of the most mischievous n haraamies of the world.. He needs a hard kick on his a## ..Give him that but before that give him a plate full of pork biryani..
            Reply
            1. B
              Bandra
              Aug 1, 2017 at 9:56 am
              The biggest losers of peace with India is the Pakistani Army Generals. How otherwise will they retire in luxury? Arms trade, bribery and corruption enables them to make a lot of money and afford the luxuriesof life.This will stop once the Kashmir issue is resolved. In fact Mr Basit's Honeymoon with the Kashmiri Extremists has emboldened them to disturb the peace in the valley. So the bull talk and Abdul Basit should be ignored.
              Reply
              1. T
                The Observer
                Aug 1, 2017 at 9:42 am
                The noise media is obsessed with Pakis. Not a day passes without at least one story about it. There are more bigger and important issues. Never grow up and still behave like a homosapiens in the stone age.
                Reply
                1. G
                  Gul Ramani
                  Aug 1, 2017 at 9:16 am
                  Pakistan can not be shunted westwards to join Africa or wherever. There is no choice but PEACE and both the neighbours should realize this simple truth.
                  Reply
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