Indo-Pak relations “remain tense” after last month’s the Pathankot terror attack and India’s engagement with Pakistan this year may depend on Islamabad’s willingness to take action against those linked to the incident, the head of the entire United States intelligence services has said.
“Relations between Pakistan and India remain tense despite the resumption of a bilateral dialogue in December,” James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence, told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday.
“Following a terrorist attack in early January on Pathankot Air Force base in India, which New Delhi blames on a Pakistani-based group, India’s engagement with Pakistan will probably hinge in 2016 on Islamabad’s willingness to take action against those in Pakistan linked to the attack,” Clapper said during his testimony.
State Department Spokesman John Kirby said he agreed with the assessment of Clapper.
“The Pakistanis have said themselves publicly that they’re not going to discriminate among terror groups, and we know that this is a threat they face as well,” he said.
“We want both sides of this to continue the dialogue that has started, understanding that it’s still a tense situation, but we want them to continue the dialogue that they’ve started to try to get at what is a very common challenge to both countries,” he said.
Seven security personnel were killed and several others were injured when six militants stormed the Pathankot base on January 2.
Kirby said it’s important for everybody facing these kinds of threats to take the actions that they need to do to protect their own people and their borders, but also to eliminate this very transnational threat that terrorism is.
“The Pakistanis have taken additional steps in the recent past. Can they do more? Every nation fighting terrorism can obviously do more because it’s still a very real threat out there in many parts of the world. But again, what we want is for India and Pakistan to continue to work together,” Kirby said.
The Director also added that any change in the relationship between the two countries would have an immediate impact on their neighbour - Afghanistan.