Pathankot attacks: Swaraj holds meeting on Pakistan policy

Nayanima Basu New Delhi | Updated on January 19, 2018

Sushma Swaraj

Fate of foreign secretary-level talks discussed

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, on Sunday, held a detailed meeting with a group of former High Commissioners and ex-Ambassadors to discuss the government’s strategy and foreign policy initiatives with Pakistan and their likely impact on bilateral ties, in the aftermath of a terror attack at the Pathankot Air Force base.

While the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) remained tight-lipped about the meeting, sources said that the government wanted to have informal “diplomatic consultations” on its Pakistan policy. The main issue that was discussed during the meeting was whether to allow the talks between Foreign Secretaries to take place in Islamabad as scheduled on January 14-15.

Meanwhile, Pakistani diplomatic sources told BusinessLine that New Delhi has not yet hinted at any rescheduling or cancellation of talks.

Swaraj’s meeting was attended by SK Lambah, G Parthasarathy, Shyam Saran, S Menon, Satyabrata Pal, Sharat Sabharwal and TCA Raghavan.

Although the meeting with former envoys was already scheduled, it assumes significance after the recent terror attacks.

While the official position of MEA was that “the immediate focus of the government was on “resolving the situation” at Pathankot”, sources indicated that the government is now being forced to think twice whether it should continue discussing the Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue with Pakistan. The dialogue includes all outstanding issues of Jammu and Kashmir, Sir Creek, controlling terrorism and maintaining peace at border areas.

Pakistan view

On the other side, Sartaj Aziz, Pakistan Prime Minister’s Foreign Affairs Adviser, told Radio Pakistan that there is “visible improvement” in India-Pakistan ties.

The recent attack at the Pathankot IAF base, by terrorists allegedly belonging to the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) outfit, comes a week after Prime Minister Narendra Modi made an impulsive visit to Pakistan on December 25 to wish his Pakistan counterpart Nawaz Sharif on his birthday, when both sides decided to restart the peace dialogue.

Meanwhile, in a press conference on Sunday, Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi said so far the terrorists have killed six IAF officers and injured eight others. An NSG commando was also killed during the operations. But they were unable to destroy any vital assets of the Air Force.

Published on January 03, 2016

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