New Delhi: India is “mulling options” with regard to the Foreign Secretary-level talks with Pakistan scheduled to be held in Islamabad on January 15, in light of the terror attack at Pathankot air base. Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar is scheduled to travel to Islamabad on January 14 to hold discussions with his Pakistani counterpart Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry to chalk out a roadmap to carry forward the engagement under the newly-announced “Bilateral Comprehensive Dialogue”. However, official sources today said the government was “mulling options” with regard to the Islamabad meeting.
There has been speculation that the talks may be deferred and that the National Security Advisors of the two countries may meet to discuss the situation arising out of the Pathankot terror strike suspected to have been carried out by Pakistani terrorists. In a pre-dawn attack, a group of heavily-armed terrorists, suspected to be belonging to Jaish-e-Mohammed outfit, attacked the Air Force base in Pathankot. The process of resumption of talks was set in motion after a meeting between Prime Ministers of India and Pakistan in Paris on November 30 on the sidelines of Climate Change Conference.
The meet was followed by the NSAs of India and Pakistan meeting in Bangkok a week later following which the External Affairs Minister visited Pakistan to attend Heart of Asia Conference during which the two sides announced the resumption of talks under “Bilateral Comprehensive Dialogue” process.
In a surprise move, Prime Minister Narendra Modi also visited Lahore on December 25 to greet his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif on his birthday in person. The two foreign secretaries are scheduled to discuss modalities and other schedule-related aspects to carry forward the dialogue process.