India’s defence minister has said ‘Pakistan’s inaction’ against the alleged attackers of Mumbai and Pathankot has exhausted his country’s ‘patience’. “The world will see its results in next one year,” Manohar Parrikar said in a veiled threat on Saturday, according to India’s Zee News TV.
Parrikar was referring to the 2008 terrorist attack on Mumbai’s landmarks and the January 2, 2015 brazen assault on the Indian Air Force (AIF) Base in Pathankot, Indian Punjab. The Mumbai attack was blamed on the banned Lashkar-e-Taiba militant group, while the outlawed Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) has been accused of masterminding the Pathankot attack.
Parrikar’s statement came despite a commitment from Pakistan that it will fully cooperate with India on the Pathankot attack. The Pakistan government has already launched a crackdown against the JeM detaining dozens of activists and sealing its offices and seminaries across Punjab. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has also formed a high-powered committee that may travel to India to probe the Pathankot attack.
The Indian defence minister, however, said the Pakistani investigation team would not be allowed to enter the air base.
The attack came just a week after India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a surprise stopover at Lahore while flying back home from Afghanistan to wish his counterpart Nawaz Sharif on his birthday.
Before Modi’s brief trip, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had visited Islamabad where she met her Pakistani counterpart Sartaj Aziz and announced to resurrect a moribund peace process between the two nuclear armed neighbours.
The foreign secretaries of the two countries were scheduled to meet on the 15 of this month in Islamabad. But the crucial meeting was put off to “the very near future,” according to Indian External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup. Foreign secretaries S Jaishankar of India and Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry of Pakistan spoke by phone on Thursday about rescheduling the talks.
UN, US favour diplomacy
The international community has called upon the two countries not to allow terrorists to derail the normalisation process between them.
The United States said on Friday it should come as a shock to no one that terrorist groups would try to undermine the Indo-Pak peace process by carrying out attacks, as it encouraged the two countries to continue the dialogue.
“It should come as a shock to no one that terrorist groups will try to undermine those sorts of efforts by conducting spectacular attacks, to sow fear and to hopefully sow doubt in the minds of national leaders towards a level of cooperation that can have a practical effect,” State Department spokesman John Kirby told reporters in Washington.
“Obviously, we don’t want to see that happen and we are encouraged by the dialogue that has recently taken place between India and Pakistan, and we’d like to see that continue,” Kirby said, referring to the Pathankot attack.
He said the United States wanted India and Pakistan to “continue to have a dialogue and to continue to look for ways to cooperate against a common threat. We talked about this not long ago at a recent conversation between both Prime Ministers Nawaz Sharif and Narendra Modi”.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has also advised diplomacy between Islamabad and New Delhi. Asked by a reporter about the on-again, off-again interactions between the two South Asian neighbours, Ban’s spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said, “Advice of the secretary general would always be for ‘on’ in order to support the talks.”
“Obviously, there are circumstances that are involved,” Dujarric said, “but he has been supportive of the dialogue between the leaders of Pakistan and India to resolve the outstanding issues.”
Published in The Express Tribune, January 17th, 2016.