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Former NSA Narayanan wants Indo-Pak FS talks suspended


Former National Security Advisor M K Narayanan today called for suspension of the upcoming Foreign Secretary-level talks with Pakistan following the Pathankot terror attack and was critical of the decision to deploy NSG instead of the Army to defend the air base.

He also slammed the move to change commanding officers thrice during the attack, contending it was a cardinal rule not to change commanders during a battle.

“There is an obsession, I think on the Indian side particularly, for talks,” he said, adding the upcoming Foreign Secretary-level talks have been invested with a certain level of glamour, which is totally uncalled for.

“If the reasons, I would say if the conditions are not fructuous then let us suspend it. I would not say call it off but suspend it. Wait and see what will happen,” he told Karan Thapar on his show ‘Noting But The Truth’ on India Today channel.

Narayanan said Pakistan should take “decisive action” against top leadership of the JeM. However, he made it clear that this does not mean that there will be no more terror attacks.

Wondering whether India was “looking for lollipops” from Pakistan, Narayanan said, adding besides the NSA, the intelligence chiefs of the two countries should meet.

He said the NSAs should also meet away from the media spotlight and “summit diplomacy” should be avoided.

“Avoid high publicised talks,” he said noting that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Pakistan on December 25 was certainly not a game changer.

Critical of the move to deploy the NSG rather than the special forces of the Army during the Pathankot terror attack, he wondered if there were valid reasons for doing it.

“But I agree that neither the Garuds, NSG or the DSC was capable of defending the air base,” Narayanan said, adding if there were valid reasons for their deployment, those should be made public.

He said there is a clear mandate of the NSG and the army could have been easily deployed because the Air Force base was a military area.

He also wondered if intelligence inputs about an impending attack were as precise as being made out now.

Narayanan said he was “baffled” why the army could not be moved in despite advance intelligence inputs.

He said that based on his previous experience, the terrorists had most likely used the drug route to get in. “This was part of the drug run,” he said, adding drug traffickers have links with the establishment and the police.

The fact that the terrorists managed to sneak in through the same area which was used for launching the Gurdaspur attack six months back is “a pretty bad commentary on how we handle the border”, he said.

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