Batting for a dialogue and forward movement in the India-Pakistan engagement process, Pakistan’s national security adviser Lieutenant General Naseer Khan Janjua has termed the recent meeting with his Indian counterpart Ajit Doval a “good beginning’’.
In his first interview since the secret meeting between the NSAs in Bangkok on December 6, Janjua told HT over the phone from Islamabad that it was important to “not be frozen in the past’’.
“Let’s think of the future. Let us do it ourselves. Let us not leave it to our children,’’ Janjua said of the process that has been mostly stalled since the 26/11 Mumbai attacks.
Asked specifically if his appointment as NSA signalled that the Pakistani army was on board the peace process between the two neighbours, Janjua said, “Let us not be dogged about our disputes. We understand that we have to move forward.”
Janjua replaced civilian leader Sartaj Aziz as national security adviser in a move seen as the all-powerful Pakistani army stamping its authority on issues related to security and India in particular. Analysts in Pakistan have likened Janjua’s appointment as a suitable match for Doval, former director of the Intelligence Bureau.
In recent meetings between India and Pakistan, both sides agreed to the NSAs holding talks to specifically address the issue of terrorism. Janjua, appointed NSA in October, retired as commander, southern command, under whose jurisdiction falls the important province of Balochistan. Pakistan has for long accused India of fomenting trouble in the province.
India conveyed to Pakistan the dialogue process would depend on the progress it made on tackling terrorism and the ongoing trial against the perpetrators of the Mumbai attacks. Janjua did not want to specifically comment on this.
“We have agreed to move forward. Mr Doval and I were absolutely comfortable with each other and we realised we can work together,’’ he said. The foreign secretaries of India and Pakistan are scheduled to meet next month to chart the way forward for the resumption of a comprehensive bilateral dialogue.