Bilateral talks: Ball in Pakistan’s court, says India

New Delhi, Jan 7 (IANS) India on Thursday said the ball was in Pakistan’s court on continuation of the resumed bilateral talks, following the terror attack on the IAF base in Pathankot in Punjab.

“As far as we are concerned, the ball is in Pakistan’s court. The immediate issue is Pakistan’s response to the terrorist attack and the actionable intelligence provided to it,” external affairs ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup said in a media briefing.

“The terrorist attack on the Pathankot air base has once again put renewed focus on the challenge posed by cross-border terrorism,” he said.

Seven security personnel were killed in the attack on the Pathankot Air Force Station by six terrorists. All six terrorists — suspected to be from Pakistan — were killed by security forces.

Stating that the Indian government’s Pakistan policy was clear and consistent, Swarup said India wanted friendly relations with all its neighbours, including Pakistan.

“We have extended our hand of friendship to Pakistan but we will not countenance cross-border terrorist attacks,” he said.

According to the spokesman, the decision to start a comprehensive bilateral dialogue followed after a “constructive” meeting between the national security advisors of the two countries in Bangkok on December 6 “in which the central concerns of terrorism, peace and security, tranquillity along the Line of Control were discussed”.

“Our prime minister (Narendra Modi) had a conversation with the prime minister of Pakistan (Nawaz Sharif). During that conversation, our prime minister very strongly urged the prime minister of Pakistan to take action,” Swarup said.

“Actionable intelligence with regard to the terrorist attack and the links with the perpetrators in Pakistan have been provided to the Pakistani side. The Pakistani prime minister promised prompt and decisive action. We now await that prompt and decisive action.”

There was a thaw in India-Pakistan relations following a seemingly impromptu meeting between Modi and Shartif on November 30 on the sidelines of the Paris climate summit.

On December 6, Indian National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and his Pakistani counterpart Naseer Khan Janjua met in Bangkok.

Two days later, Sushma Swaraj landed in Islamabad to attend the Heart of Asia conference on Afghanistan.

On December 9, Sushma Swaraj announced that Modi would visit Islamabad in 2016 to attend the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) summit.

India and Pakistan have since agreed to start a comprehensive bilateral dialogue.

It was when the stage was being set for the foreign secretaries to meet this month in Islamabad that the terrorists mounted the attack on the IAF base at Pathankot.

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