National security adviser AK Doval had a second secret meeting with his Pakistani counterpart Lt Gen (retd) Naseer Khan Janjua in Paris in the second week of January, highly placed sources have told HT. The two had earlier met in Bangkok on December 6.
Doval was in Paris in mid-January and met French President Francois Hollande who came to India as chief guest for the Republic Day parade. The meeting in Paris with Janjua came soon after the Pathankot airbase attack on January 2 carried out by terrorists belonging to the Jaish-e-Mohammad.
“By the time Doval and Janjua met in Paris, India already had taped evidence of the Jaish’s involvement in the Pathankot attack. Doval made it clear that Pakistan needed to take effective action against the terror group before the foreign secretaries could meet to take the composite dialogue forward,” a senior official familiar with the development said.
Efforts by HT to contact Doval did not elicit a response, while the PMO refused to comment.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a surprise stopover at Lahore on December 25 on his way back from Kabul and just as the two sides were gearing up for the foreign secretary-level talks, the Jaish attack in Pathankot threatened to derail the peace process.
Doval and Janjua have been in constant touch since then and Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif while assuring action against those responsible for the attack also announced the formation of a special investigation team (SIT).
An FIR was finally registered against unnamed members of the JeM last week, paving the way for the SIT to visit India. The team is likely to visit in early March. “We are now exploring the scope of the team’s visit which would also like to go to the airbase in Pathankot and take fingerprints of the slain terrorists whose bodies are being preserved. We would like to match the fingerprints through our biometric system,” a Pakistani official said.
The engagement between the two NSAs has ensured that talks don’t break down between the two sides. Government officials when contacted did not want to comment on the second secret meeting between Doval and Janjua. “The two are in regular touch,’’ has been the constant refrain from the ministry of external affairs.