Pakistan says it is sending a probe team to India next month to collect evidence on the alleged involvement of Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) terrorists in last month’s attack on the Pathankot air base, a media report said on Saturday.
The move has been in the air for a while but India has not officially reacted to the move. Indian Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar has, however, said that the National Investigation Agency (NIA) would conduct whatever probe was necessary and it was for Pakistan to take this forward in its own country.
“The investigation team’s visit is expected,” Dawn quoted a senior diplomat as saying, adding that dates for the visit were yet to be finalised.
The newspaper said the registration of an FIR by the Counter-Terrorism Department of Punjab police on Friday has paved the way for the visit of the six-member investigation team constituted by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif weeks after the attack on the Pathankot Air Force Station, part of the Western Air Command of the Indian Air Force on January 2 that resulted in the death of 14 people – six attackers, seven security personnel and one civilian.
The investigation team will visit the site of the attack and collect evidence related to Indian claim that the terrorist strike was planned in Pakistan and executed by a group of four persons who had crossed the border into Pathankot, Dawn said.
The investigators will also meet NIA officials, the newspaper said.
It quoted a diplomatic source as saying India was ready to receive the Pakistani team and facilitate its investigations.
The decision regarding cooperation with Pakistan was taken at a meeting in Delhi presided over by Indian National Security Adviser Ajit Doval in which issues relating to the visit of the Pakistani team were discussed, the newspaper said.
Doval has been in touch with his Pakistani counterpart Gen Nasser Khan Janjua since the attack happened. Conversations between the two helped prevent the Pathankot incident turning into a major crisis in the relationship, although it delayed the foreign secretaries’ meeting for deciding timetable and modalities of the Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue, Dawn said.
The development comes at a time when diplomats in New Delhi and Islamabad are exploring the possibility of a meeting of Prime Ministers Sharif and Narendra Modi in Washington next month on the sidelines of Nuclear Security Summit.