Action against terror of higher priority than Indo-Pak dialogue: Jaishankar

Responding to Pakistan on resumption on  foreign secretary-level talks,foreign secretary S Jaishankar  said that action against terror by Nawaz Sharif government  will take priority over talks with it in the aftermath of the Pathankot strike that had prompted the postponement of the foreign secretary-level talks.

“In the aftermath of a terror attack, if you ask me what do you give priority to, a terrorist attack or a diplomatic dialogue, I think the answer should be obvious,” foreign secretary S Jaishankar said.

He was replying to a question during an interactive session at the Raisina Dialogue — a conclave on geo-economics and geo-politics — on whether foreign secretary talks between the two countries were linked to action by Pakistan on information given to it by India on Pathankot terror attack.

Talks between the foreign secretaries scheduled for the middle of January this year got derailed after the terrorist attack on the Indian Air Force base in Pathankot on January 2 that claimed the lives of seven Indian security personnel.

The Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) claimed responsibility for the attack in which all the six terrorists were also reportedly killed.

India has since sent “actionable evidence” to the Pakistani authorities to bring the perpetrators of the attack to book.

Pakistan filed an FIR in Gujranwala last month against unknown terrorists in connection with the attack.

It also said that it would send a special investigation team (SIT) to India to probe the attack.

India and Pakistan had agreed on starting a comprehensive bilateral dialogue after a meeting between External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Sartaj Aziz, the Pakistan prime minister’s advisor on foreign affairs, during the Heart of Asia conference in Islamabad in December last year.

Following this, Jaishankar said on Wednesday that he and his Pakistani counterpart Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry were supposed to meet and discuss how the modalities of the comprehensive bilateral dialogue could be worked out.

“When the Pathankot attack happened, the governments of India and Pakistan have been in touch primarily through the NSAs (national security advisors), to some extent communications between me and my counterpart,” he said.

“There was also a phone call between (Pakistani) Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and our prime minister (Narendra Modi). The picture you see is of really parallel processes which are working,” the Indian foreign secretary said.

Jaishankar’s comments come after Aziz, who is currently on a visit to Washington, said that foreign secretary-level talks could be rescheduled soon after Islamabad’s probe team visited Pathankot to investigate the attack.

Aziz said a Pakistani team would visit India “in the next few days” to investigate the attack.

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