India is exploring the idea of an institutionalised mechanism to share counterterrorism intelligence with Pakistan.
This, New Delhi believes, could help bridge the trust deficit between the two countries and test Pakistan’s resolve to rein in anti-India terrorist outfits operating within its territory.
How this plays out is anyone’s guess as the Joint Anti Terrorism Mechanism set up in 2006 is largely defunct, and intelligence agencies in the two countries remain suspicious of each other, unwilling to share information.
Indian intelligence agencies, including the Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW), have a well-defined counterterrorism information exchange mechanism with their counterparts in many countries across the globe, but not with Pakistan, sources said.
“Indian security agencies were always fighting covert and overt wars launched by the Pakistani agencies. It was simply not possible to even think of having such a relationship with Pakistani spy agency ISI as well,” said a senior government official on the condition of anonymity.
This idea, however, gained traction after Pakistani national security advisor Naseer Khan Janjua shared inputs with his Indian counterpart Ajit Doval on suspected infiltration by suicide attackers in Gujarat last week.
Multiple sources told HT that this issue would come up for discussion at a foreign secretaries-level meet, but a concrete plan would fructify only when the two national security advisers meet.
However, whether the move would amount to a revival of the 2006 anti-terror mechanism or the creation of a new set-up remains unclear.
“The resolve to fight terror has to be at the forefront of normalising ties. For that, trust needs to be restored, and actions need to be shown on the ground,” an official said.