‘Action against terror takes priority over dialogue’


New Delhi, Mar 2: India Wednesday indicated that action against terror by Pakistan will take priority over talks with it in the aftermath of the Pathankot strike that had prompted the postponement of the Foreign Secretary-level talks.

“In the aftermath of a terror attack, if you ask me what do you give priority to, a terrorist attack or a diplomatic dialogue, I think the answer should be obvious,” Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar said.

He was replying to a question during an interactive session at the Raisina Dialogue — a conclave on geo-economics and geo-politics — on whether FS talks between the two countries were linked to action by Pakistan on information given to it by India on Pathankot terror attack.

Jaishankar said both the countries were in touch with each other following the Pathankot attack, primarily at the level of National Security Advisers and to a certain extent between him and his Pakistani counterpart.

The Foreign Secretary said “parallel processes” are at works.

India had blamed terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed for the Pathankot attack and sought action against the perpetrators of the strike which had led to the postponement of Indo-Pak Foreign Secretary-level talks. India had said Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar masterminded the attack.

Talking about overall Indo-Pak ties, he said India was for a “much more modern relationship” with Islamabad but for that to happen there was a need to have change in attitude towards a number of issues of which terrorism is a “central” one.

Underlining the need for better connectivity between India and Pakistan, he said, “It takes two hands to clap” and that India would like to have same kind of ties with Islamabad like with other neighbours.

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“Most people in this country wants to treat Pakistan as a normal neighbour. So we would like to do with Pakistan what we do with everybody else. But the fact is that there are obstacles and we know what the obstacles are,” he said, emphasising on the need need to remove the obstacles.

To a question whether India and Pakistan can remain isolated, Jaishankar said they shouldn’t and that New Delhi has been making sincere efforts to improve ties with Pakistan.

“I cannot think of any Prime Minister of India who did not strive for better relations with Pakistan. There may be differences in nuances, pace and packaging,” he said.

Last moth, Pakistan had lodged an FIR into the Pathankot terror attack case which was seen by India as a “step forward” in bringing the perpetrators of the strike to justice.

The FIR was filed against “unknown persons” though India had named Masood Azhar as mastermind of the strike.

India submitted evidence to show that the six men who

opened fire at the air base came from across the border, and demanded action against the terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed led by Azhar.

Tuesday , Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s Foreign Affairs Advisor Sartaj Aziz said the SIT may visit India in the next few days and hoped that the Foreign Secretary level talks will be scheduled very soon.

Pakistan last week set up a five-member Joint Investigation Team (JIT) to probe the terror attack.

Earlier, a six-member SIT was set up by the government for the initial probe into the January 2 attack based on the leads given by India.

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