NEW DELHI: Fate of the talks between the foreign secretaries of Pakistan and India, scheduled for January 15, is in danger of being scrapped and a decision in this regard would be taken after the operation to clear Indian Air Force (IAF) base is completed, senior sources in Indian government said.
The move comes after six militants stormed the IAF base in Pathankot on Saturday. Five attackers have been killed so far; while combing operation is still going on to clear the base.
There are indications from the Indian side that the talks between foreign secretaries would be rescheduled and national security advisers of the two countries would meet first to discuss the Pathankot incident.
Indian finance minister Arun Jaitley, who attended a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS), said the government wanted to capture as many militants alive as possible, which is why the operation is taking so long. He added that it would be premature to comment on anything as the operation was still going on.
United Jihad Council, an umbrella group of militant groups fighting in Indian Kashmir, in its alleged statements sent to Srinagar newspapers on Monday reportedly claimed responsibility for the attack.“Indian government and media have been suffering from Pakistan phobia. By accusing Pakistan for every attack, India neither succeeded in past to malign the Kashmir freedom struggle nor will it get anything in future through malicious propaganda,” the UJC spokesperson said.
Refuting the UJC’s claim, Indian government termed it a ploy to divert attention from real conspirators.
Meanwhile, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a meeting with top officials including national security advisor Ajit Doval and foreign secretary S Jaishankar to discuss the incident.
In a parallel operation, Indian authorities claimed to have arrested three men with explosive material from Mohali. However, it is still unclear whether these men were drug smugglers or had any role in the Pathankot attack.