India ups ante, NSA Doval tells Pakistan to reject envoy’s remarks

AJIT DOVAL

India has upped the ante over Pakistan’s High Commissioner Abdul Basit’s unilateral announcement about the suspension of the peace process, with National Security Adviser Ajit Doval calling up his Pakistani counterpart Nasir Khan Janjua, with a clear message to Islamabad to reject the envoy’s statement.

Mr Doval is understood to have conveyed to Mr Janjua that either Pakistan reject and condemn the comments made by Mr Basit or India would be forced to toughen its stand on its engagement with Pakistan. Mr Doval also sought details of the probe report of the Pakistani team that visited India recently. There was no discussion between the two officials on Pakistan’s refusal to allow the NIA to probe the case in Pakistan.

Reports in sections of Pakistani media also suggest that Mr Doval told Mr Janjua that the failure to express the government’s stand on the matter could have a negative impact on other issues as well. India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is expected to visit Pakistan later this year to attend the SAARC Summit, may decide against it if Pakistan sticks to the stand conveyed by its diplomat in New Delhi. However, it is believed that Mr Janjua informed Mr Doval that the Pakistani government would soon clear its stand on  the comments made by Mr Basit. He is also believed to have said that Pakistan was keen on continuing the peace process with India and cooperate in the probe into the Pathankot attack.

Earlier, Mr Basit had said the bilateral peace process with India stood “suspended” and indicated that NIA investigators won’t be allowed to visit his country to probe the Pathankot attack.  The envoy’s remarks contrasted sharply with the formulation of “I have stated this many times that both countries are in contact with each other and it has been reiterated from both sides that modalities are being worked out,” said Pakistani Foreign Ministry spokesperson Nafees Zakaria.

Snubbing Pakistani envoy’s remarks on NIA visit to Pakistan, India’s Union Minister Kiren Rijiju said such statements will not help in improving relations between the two countries. “We reject the statement given by the Pakistan High Commissioner. What he has said is wrong. It will not help in improving relations between the two countries,” Mr Rijiju said.

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