NEW DELHI (TIP): India on Jan 7 made it clear to Pakistan that the proposed foreign secretary-level talks could be held only if Islamabad acts promptly against plotters of the Pathankot airbase attack.
New Delhi put the onus on Islamabad to salvage the peace process which was recently reinitiated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistan counterpart M Nawaz Sharif.
The dialogue process between the two countries came under a shadow after the recent attacks on the Indian Air Force base in Pathankot (Punjab) and the Consulate General of India at Mazar-e-Sharif in Afghanistan.
“The ball is in Pakistan’s court,” Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Vikas Swarup told journalists on Thursday.
He, however, declined to comment on the proposed meeting between Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar and his Pakistan counterpart A A Chaudhry, which is scheduled to be held in Islamabad on January 15.
“The immediate issue (for India) is Pakistan’s response to the terrorist attack (on IAF base in Pathankot) and the actionable intelligence provided to it,” he said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s National Security Advisor Ajit Doval on Monday shared with his Pakistani counterpart Naseer Khan Janjua details of the calls and transcripts of the conversations between the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terrorists, who attacked the IAF base in Pathankot, and the “commanders” of the terror organisation based in the neighbouring country.
It was reported that New Delhi had asked Islamabad to immediately arrest JeM founder Moulana Masood Azhar and three other operatives of the terror organisations — Ashfaq Ahmad, Hafiz Abdul Shakur and Kasim Jaan.
They were in constant touch with the terrorists and coordinating their assault on the airbase from a control room set up at the outfit’s headquarters in Bahawalpur in Pakistan.
New Delhi suspects that Azhar’s brother Abdul Rauf Ashgar masterminded the attack. Modi on Tuesday asked Sharif to immediately act against the individuals and organizations responsible for the terrorist attack.
Sharif assured Modi over phone that his government would take “prompt and decisive action against the terrorists”.
“Actionable intelligence with regard to the terrorist attack and the links with the perpetrators in Pakistan have been provided to the Pakistani side. The Pakistani Prime Minister promised prompt and decisive action. We now await that prompt and decisive action,” the MEA spokesperson said on Thursday.
“We had extended a hand of friendship to Pakistan but we will not countenance cross-border terrorist attacks,” said Swarup. The meeting between the two foreign secretaries on January 15 is expected to mark restart of the bilateral dialogue, which remained stalled since January 2013.
Seven security-men were killed in the attack on the IAF base in Pathankot. The six JeM terrorists, who carried out the attack, were all eliminated by the security personnel in a three-day-long operation.
The terrorist attack came just a little more than a week after Modi’s surprise visit to Lahore to greet Sharif on his birthday and to join celebration for the wedding ceremony of the Pakistan Prime Minister’s granddaughter. The visit added to the newly generated goodwill between the two neighbours, which saw a thaw in their ties with the December 9 announcement on resumption of the parleys as Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue.