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Talks with Pakistan not conditional on Pathankot probe: Indian envoy

ISLAMABAD: Foreign secretary level talks between Pakistan and India are not conditional to the Pathankot airbase attack probe, said the Indian High Commissioner Gautam Bambawaly on Monday.

The Indian envoy also stated that India and Pakistan are in constant contact to hold foreign secretary level talks in the near future.

“I cannot give any particular date for the secretary level talks, but foreign secretaries from both countries are in constant contact,” explained the Indian envoy.

After a series of high-level contacts starting with an ice-breaking meeting in Paris between Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi and climaxing with the latter’s surprise trip to Lahore, Pakistan and India had agreed in December to resume the bilateral dialogue after a hiatus of two years because of tensions along the Line of Control (LoC) and Working Boundary.

The resumed dialogue was named Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue and it was agreed that the foreign secretaries of the two countries would meet on Jan 15 to decide about the timetable and modalities of the process.

With the attack on Pathankot, India lost seven security personnel in the strike and blamed the Pakistan-based terrorist group Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) for it. It linked the resumption of the foreign secretaries’ meeting to action by Pakistan against JeM.

Later, in a high-level meeting, presided by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and attended by General Raheel Sharif, reiterated Pakistan’s commitment to cooperate with India on the Pathankot incident.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had said the government wants to send a team of special investigators to the Pathankot airbase in India for further investigation, and to probe any possible involvement of Pakistan based individuals.

A special investigation team set up by Pakistan to probe the deadly assault on an Indian airbase last month found no evidence implicating the leader of the group India blamed for the attack, Pakistani security officials said last week.

The Pathankot airbase attack was claimed by separatist group United Jihad Council, an alliance of Kashmiri militants.

Indian Air Force’s Pathankot airbase is a mere 50 km from the Pakistan border, and is a major forward operational airbase of the IAF.


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