Talks with Pakistan only after action on Pathankot: NSA


AJIT DOVAL

Amid ongoing uncertainty over the foreign secretary-level talks between India and Pakistan after the Pathankot terror attack on Janauary 2, India has categorically stated that it will talk with Pakistan only after it takes some action against the perpetrators of the airbase assault.  Ending ambiguity, India’s National Security Adviser Ajit Doval said: “We will talk only if Pakistan takes action.”

Mr Doval added that no dates have been fixed for the talks between the foreign secretaries, which were supposed to be held on January 14-15 in Islamabad. The NSA’s statement has made it clear that the talks are unlikely to go ahead this week and New Delhi will be looking for “decisive action” by Pakistan before the talks. However, Doval promptly denied that the talks have been cancelled, creating an added ambiguity over the much-speculated FS-level talks.

Recently, Vikas Swarup, the spokesperson of the external affairs ministry, underlined that India had said that Pakistan must deliver “prompt and decisive action” on the evidence provided by India of the terror attack on January 2 at the air force base in Pathankot. “The ball is in Pakistan’s court,” Mr Swarup had said. “The immediate issue is Pakistan’s response,” he added.

The attack in Pathankot, which came just days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a surprise visit to Lahore and met Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, has now become a major hurdle in the talks. In a telephonic conversation Mr Modi conveyed to Mr Sharif that India wanted to see concrete action taken against the perpetrators of the attack. Mr Doval’s latest statement has once again put the onus on Pakistan to take concrete steps for the continuation of the dialogue.

In an unprecedented move, the Pakistan government, military and ISI have agreed to probe the attacks and bring the perpetrators to justice, which shows Pakistan desperately trying to salvage the dialogue process.