The government yesterday said the dialogue process with Pakistan was not suspended and the visit of Pakistan’s Joint Investigation Team (JIT) to probe the Pathankot airbase attack was “very constructive”.
The JIT’s visit to Pathankot came in a “in a very constructive and co-operative environment”, external affairs ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup said at a media briefing here. On a question about the status of the India-Pakistan dialogue, he stressed it “has not been suspended”.
“Multiple conversations have been held between India and Pakistan at multiple levels including at the level of the two prime ministers who spoke to each other quite recently. Obviously, after the Pathankot terror attack, the focus of the conversations was on the investigation of that particular attack.
“However, other aspects of the relationships have also been discussed. I have made statements and so has my Pakistani counterpart. So this should give you clarity that the dialogue process has not been suspended,” he added.
On being reminded that Pakistan has expressed its willingness to host an Indian investigative team in the case, Swarup said it will be considered “at an appropriate time”.
He also said that the government welcomes any move against terrorism. “We welcome co-operation to combat terrorism in all its forms.” The talks at foreign secretary-level between India and Pakistan, planned for mid-January, got derailed after the January 2 terror attack on the Indian Air Force base in Pathankot.
Meanwhile Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit yesterday evening said the leadership of India and Pakistan is “determined” to pursue the peace process, but Islamabad still awaits New Delhi’s response on resumption of foreign secretary level talks.
Interacting with members of the All India Muslim Majlis Mushwarat, an apex body of various Muslim groups at Abul Fazal Enclave, the high commissioner said that despite Pathankot terror attack, communication links between the two countries had not snapped. “There is a need to work together to carry forward the peace process so that the South Asian region is rid of terrorism, hunger and poverty,” he said.
Basit’s statement yesterday comes after he last week stated that the “peace process is suspended”, which was contradicted by the Pakistan foreign ministry on the same day.
Basit said it was strange that Saarc (South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation) had not achieved the desired goal of regional co-operation like other regional blocs in the world. “It is time for us to resolve issue amicably and peacefully,” he said.
Basit added that efforts to this end by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif “are highly laudable”.
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