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Pathankot attack fallout? India may reschedule Pak talks

Terror in Pathankot Updated: Jan 04, 2016 00:14 IST
Shishir Gupta
Shishir Gupta
Hindustan Times
Pathankot attack

Prime Minister Narendra Modi meeting the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Mr. Nawaz Sharif, at Lahore, Pakistan on December 25, 2015. In the wake of the attack on Pathankot airbase, India may reschedule talks with Pakistan which are likely to be held in January, 2016.(PIB Photo)

India may reschedule proposed foreign-secretary level talks, tentatively slated for later this month, to give Pakistan time to crack down on banned terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) that is believed to be behind the Pathankot air base ambush, sources said on Sunday.

They said the national security advisers of the two countries may meet soon to explore how Pakistan could act against the JeM and reaffirm its commitment to the peace process before their foreign secretaries sit down for formal negotiations.

The revelation came as Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a brainstorming session with his key foreign policy advisers even as the terrorists -- allegedly based out of Bahawalpur in Pakistan -- exchanged gun fire with security forces, over 36 hours after the operation began.

Security forces will resume the operation on Monday morning as the guns of the remaining terrorists fell silent towards Sunday evening.

The prime minister’s office remained tight-lipped over the meeting attended by the national security adviser Ajit Doval and foreign secretary S Jaishankar, but sources said the Indian NSA was likely to discuss the attack with his Pakistani counterpart, Lt General Naseer Janjua, and seek action against JeM leader Maulana Masood Azhar.

He is also expected to demand that Islamabad deliver on its commitment to take action against terrorists targeting India as discussed in the NSA-level dialogue on terrorism in Bangkok.

Read | Pathankot: Search on for 2nd car, number of terrorists may be 8 or 10

“The PM took stock of the Pathankot situation and the possible steps to be taken diplomatically with Pakistan,” said a senior official.

The Narendra Modi government was all for dialogue with the Nawaz Sharif government but rescheduling the talks was necessary to give time to Islamabad to take action against Azhar’s troopers, the sources said.

“Since terror and dialogue cannot go together, Pakistan will have to show its commitment to the peace process so that FS level dialogue take place this month,” said a South Block official.

It is understood that New Delhi will prepare a case study of the Pathankot attack, containing evidence nailing the JeM and their ISI handlers, on the basis of which Pakistan will be pressed to take action against the proscribed group.

The South Block is clear the JeM was used by the Inter-Services Intelligence in the Pathankot attack as the group has been virulently anti-India and opposed to any peace talks. “There is deliberate signature left in the attack so that message is understood by both sides,” said a senior official.