In well-coordinated moves, India and Pakistan ensured that the Pathankot terror attack does not derail their engagement by mutually agreeing to a short deferment of Foreign Secretary-level talks and India giving the go-ahead to the visit of a Pakistan SIT.
The detention of about a dozen members of Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), said to be behind the attack, was today welcomed by India as an “important and positive first step” even as it emphasised that “empty statements” alone would not do because it wanted action on the ground.
In a break from the past, the two governments appeared to have coordinated their strategy with Islamabad not going into a denial mode with regard to involvement of Pakistani elements in the attack and apprehending JeM members. India on its part, did not call-off the talks.
Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar, who would have been in Islamabad today for the talks, and his counterpart Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhary spoke to each other when it was agreed that their parleys would be rescheduled to the “very near future”.
In a significant decision, India has decided to allow the visit of a Pakistani Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe the attack and offered “all necessary cooperation” to bring the perpetrators of the attack to justice.
Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Vikas Swarup told journalists that the statement issued by the Pakistan government yesterday on the investigations into the Pathankot attack conveyed that “considerable progress” has been made in the probe against terrorist elements linked to the strike.
“The action taken against JeM is an important and positive first step. We also note that the government of Pakistan considering to send a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to investigate the Pathankot terror attack,” he said.
Reports of detention of JeM Chief Masood Azhar widely carried by the Pakistani media yesterday and picked up by the Indian press, turned out to be untrue but India has not linked the talks to his detention.
“We are looking for the credible and comprehensive action to bring all the perpetrators of Pathankot terror attack to justice,” Swarup said.