India may defer talks, expects Pak to act

Final decision to be taken early next week

India may defer talks, expects Pak to act

India is running out of patience and may defer resumption of its stalled dialogue with Pakistan, which is yet to act against any of the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terror plotters behind the recent attack on the Pathankot Air Force base in Punjab.

If Pakistan does not act over the weekend on the information provided by India on the terror plot, New Delhi may defer Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar’s proposed visit to Islamabad for a meeting with his counterpart A A Chaudhry on January 15. A final decision is likely to be taken early next week.

The meeting between Jaishankar and Chaudhry was to mark resumption of India-Pakistan parleys as Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue after a two-year hiatus since January 2013.

Radio Pakistan on Saturday quoted Khwaja Muhammad Asif, defence minister of the neighbouring country, stating that no terrorist group would be allowed to derail the dialogue process between Islamabad and New Delhi.

His comment was in line with the statement Islamabad issued on Friday after Pakistan Prime Minister M Nawaz Sharif reviewed the progress of his government’s actions on the information provided by New Delhi. India, however, wants Pakistan to translate words into action promptly and act against JeM founder Maulana Masood Azhar, his brother Abdul Rauf Ashgar and close aides Ashfaq Ahmad, Hafiz Abdul Shakur and Kasim Jaan.

Officials told Deccan Herald on Saturday that New Delhi had expected Islamabad to take at least some action against the JeM by now.

They pointed out that five days had passed since National Security Advisor Ajit Doval had shared with his Pakistani counterpart Naseer Khan Janjua details of the plotters, who had coordinated the attacks from the outfit’s headquarters in Bahawalpur in Pakistan.


“That we are running out of our patience and anxiously waiting for them to act has been conveyed to Pakistan government,” a senior official said in New Delhi. India is also understood to have made it clear that it would be difficult for Jaishankar to visit Islamabad and meet Chaudhry, until and unless Pakistan government acts against the JeM.

Jaishankar, who is on a tour to Tokyo, will return to New Delhi on Sunday. He and Doval are likely to brief the Prime Minister on Monday about Islamabad’s response to information provided by New Delhi on the terror plotters.

Meanwhile, sources noted that New Delhi had never officially announced the Foreign Secretary-level talks on January 15. Hence, there is no question of calling off the engagement. New Delhi is ready with an alternative plan for Jaishankar to visit Male to discuss bilateral issues with Maldivian government, around the same time next week when he was to visit Islamabad. The Foreign Secretary is also scheduled to visit Sri Lanka from January 17. 

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