Smarting under the daring attack on a Pathankot military installation by Jaish-e-Muhammad militants, the government is now exploring all options regarding the upcoming foreign secretary-level talks with Pakistan and a final call will be taken after the combing operation in Pathankot is completed, possibly in the next 48 hours.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi presided over a high level National Security Council meeting to take stock of both Pathankot attack and the attack on Indian consulate in Mazar-i-Sharif. After the meeting, finance minister Arun Jaitley, when asked about the impact of the attack on the planned talks, said, “I think let the operations get over and it is only then government takes a view on such matters (the forthcoming talks between the two foreign secretaries).”
Asked about the identity of the terrorists, Jaitley said, “I think we are at a stage where operations is still on (and) therefore it is not proper for me to say anything more than that,” adding that the combing operations are taking time as the Air Force base is a large complex with a 24 kilometre-long circumference.
The minister also praised the prompt action taken by security forces, stating that the terrorists had come with the objective of damaging strategic assets at Pathankot Air Base.
The government is concerned that groups like Jaish-e-Muhammad, “with an unambiguous anti-India position”, operate from Pakistani soil with immunity and they timed their attack to disrupt the peace initiative set in motion by Modi. The government is also factoring public sentiment and the domestic consensus that constitute the ‘right atmosphere’ to enable the two sides to resume talks.