Indian police take up positions near the air force in Pathankot on January 4, 2016. Indian troops backed by helicopters searched an air force base January 4, after a weekend of fierce fighting with suspected Islamic insurgents in which seven soldiers and at least four attackers were killed. AFP PHOTO/ NARINDER NANU
Indian police take up positions near the air force in Pathankot on January 4, 2016. Indian troops backed by helicopters searched an air force base January 4, after a weekend of fierce fighting with suspected Islamic insurgents in which seven soldiers and at least four attackers were killed. AFP PHOTO/ NARINDER NANU

New Delhi : The terrorist attack on the air Force base in Pathankot has delayed the foreign secretary-level talks slated in Islamabad on January 14 and 15 and prospects are that the National Security Advisers (NSAs) of the two countries will meet again to re-rail the efforts made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi through a stopover in Pakistan to greet Nawaz Sharif on his birthday.

India has asked for a meeting between NSA Ajit Doval and his Pakistan counterpart Naseer Khan Janjua before the foreign secretary level talks, while Doval was asked to put off his scheduled China visit for talks with the top Chinese leaders. While a Chinese Foreign Ministry official said that the visit is being postponed owing to scheduling problems, Indian officials maintained that Doval”s visit is being rescheduled as he is busy handling the Pathankot incident. After multi-level consultations between retired and serving diplomats, former foreign secretaries, former national security advisors and different ministries, the Modi government is understood to be of the view that talks between the two countries must continue but a message must go to people at large that India has not succumbed and therefore foreign secretary level talks need to be delayed and a meeting between two NSAs must be held first, the officials said.

After the meeting, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said that a decision on the question of talks will be taken once the operations are over. “Let the operations be over. Then we will take decisions on these matters,” he stated. Jaitley informed that the security forces were able to confine the terrorists to the place where they intruded and kept at a “reasonable distance” from where the assets were located. “All the assets are safe,”A final decision may come only in the next few days as the government would like to get all the inputs on the terrorist attack from different security agencies, the Army and the Air Force so that a detailed dossier can be readied for presentation to not only Pakistan but also to different world capitals, they said. The NSAs have been mandated by Modi and Nawaz Sharif to discuss countering terrorism, while the Foreign Secretaries were to meet to plan a roadmap for the new comprehensive dialogue. Officials said the foreign secretaries may still meet but on another future date.

Meanwhile, although it was claimed on the first day itself that all the six terrorists have been neutralised, briefing the media in Pathankot National Security Guards Inspector General, Maj Gen Dushant Singh, said in the evening that they have been able to eliminate a fifth terrorist. “The operations are still going on. We have been able to eliminate the fifth terrorist. Combing and search operations are going on. Given the magnitude of the operation of the air base, the operation will continue to be concluded till we are able to fully render the base safe,” he said. There were reports that the sixth terrorist had blown himself up, but there was no confirmation. However, there was an assurance that all the assets at the air base are safe. “The security forces comprising NSG, along with the army which has major combat elements, air force has deployed all its assets. Police and intelligence agencies are also working in sync to make this operation successful,” Maj. Gen. Singh said.

Pak working on Indian ‘leads’

Islamabad: Pakistan is working on the “leads” provided by India on the terror attack in Pathankot, the Foreign Office said on Monday night in a statement whose tone was conciliatory. Extending Pakistan’s deepest condolences to the Government and people of India on the “unfortunate terrorist incident” in Pathankot, a statement by the spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said, “We understand the pain of many families who have lost their dear ones in this tragedy, as Pakistan itself is a major victim of terrorism.” The statement, however, did not give details of the “leads” provided by India.

India may share dossier with Pak      

New Delhi: Details of phone call records of terrorists, who attacked the Pathankot air base, mobile numbers of their handlers based in Pakistan and proof that they came from across the border are expected to be shared with the neighbouring country when officials of the two sides meet in near future.Government officials said that whenever the two sides meet, be it at the Foreign Secretary-level or in National Security Advisor – level, all proof of Pakistani links of the terrorists would be given for action.The call details of the phone used by the terrorists, number of their handler in Pakistan would certainly be shared with the neighbouring country in the next available opportunity for taking action against them, officials said.

The terrorist had snatched at least four mobile phones after hijacking the vehicle of Punjab Police SP Salwinder Singh, his jeweller friend Rajesh Verma and Singh’s cook and at least two of these phones were used to call their handlers in Pakistan. The infiltrators also used two Pakistani SIMs to call their handlers, suspected to be based in Bahawalpur in Pakistan Punjab. Security agencies are also trying to find out the antecedents of the terrorists who were killed in the operations so that their details could also be shared with Pakistan, sources said.

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