India to help Pakistan probe Pathankot terror attack; high-level talks put off
India on Thursday said it will extend all help to a special team Pakistan proposes to send to Pathankot to investigate the terror attack on the Indian Air Force base.
External affairs ministry spokesman Vikas Swarup said India viewed the crackdown on the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) terrorist group in Pakistan as an “important and positive first step”.
“We have noted that the Pakistan government is considering to send a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to investigate the Pathankot terror attack,” he said. “We look forward to the visit of the SIT. Our investigative agencies will extend all cooperation to bring the perpetrators of the attack to justice.”
The Indo-Pak Foreign Secretary-level talks will not take place as scheduled in Islamabad on Friday, Pakistan said, a development that comes in the wake of uncertainty created by the terror attack on the Pathankot air base.
Pakistan also did not confirm the arrest of Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar as reported by media.
Foreign Office spokesman Qazi Khalilullah said the FS-level talks on Friday for which Indian Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar was to travel will not take place as planned.
He told a news briefing that both sides were holding consultations to reschedule the talks.
To questions on the detention of Azhar, he said, “I am not aware of any such arrest. I don’t have anything else apart from the statement issued by the PMO yesterday.”
After a high-level meeting chaired by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, the PMO had issued a statement on Wednesday which said that “several individuals” belonging to JeM have been apprehended in connection with the Pathankot terror attack and some of its offices traced and sealed.
Last night, External Affairs Ministry spokesman Vikas Swarup had said India had not received any confirmation on media reports of the detention of Azhar, who is believed to be the mastermind of the Pathankot terror attack.
After the terror attack on January 2, there have been doubts whether the FS-level talks could take place as planned with India linking “prompt and decisive” action by Pakistan to the taks.
On Thursday, Pakistan detained “several individuals” of the JeM apart from sealing some of their offices in an apparent attempt to get the talks going.
India on Thursday deferred a decision on the talks because of lack of confirmation on Azhar’s arrest.
There is speculation that the NSAs of the two countries may meet before the FS-level talks.