Foreign Secretary talks: ball in Pakistan’s court, says India

Nayanima Basu New Delhi | Updated on January 19, 2018

Nawaz Sharif holds meeting with Ministers, NSA on Pathankot attack

India has left open-ended the question of whether it will go ahead with the Foreign Secretary-level talks even as Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif held a high-level meeting with his officials, at which the Pathankot Air Force base attack was discussed.

“The ball is now in Pakistan’s court. We have given them actionable intelligence to work on. They will now have to take action. The Pathankot Air Force base attack has put the focus back on cross-border terrorism. And we have said talks and terror cannot go together,” said External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup on Thursday while briefing reporters.

He highlighted that the Foreign Secretary-level talks are aimed at discussing terrorism, but refused to comment on whether the talks had been cancelled. “We are now awaiting that prompt and decisive action, as was assured by Prime Minister (Nawaz) Sharif to PM Modi. There is no deadline…Eight days remain for the talks to take place, let’s see what happens between now and then,” he added.

Meanwhile, Sharif held a high-level meeting with his senior cabinet ministers and the National Security Adviser (NSA) Nasir Khan Janjua in Islamabad on Thursday, at which the Pathankot attack was discussed. He even asked them to accelerate work on the leads provided by India, sources told BusinessLine.

Pakistani diplomatic sources emphasised that the talks should not be cancelled, nor should conditions be imposed before they take place.

“We should not allow the engagement process to slide back into conditionalities. Any attempt to restrict the bilateral engagement is not only a step backwards but also intrinsically untenable,” said a top Pakistani official on condition of anonymity. Pakistan forces reportedly conducted some initial raids on Jaish-e-Mohammed, a terrorist outfit led by Maulana Masood Azhar, which is allegedly held responsible for the Pathankot attack.

On Wednesday, Pakistan’s army chief General Raheel Sharif reaffirmed a policy of zero tolerance for terrorist organisations and took a detailed review of the overall internal and external security situation in the country.

(With inputs from PTI)

Published on January 07, 2016

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