Amid conflicting reports about the status of India-Pakistan talks, the Indian government has clarified that dialogue between the two countries has not been suspended.
High-level talks between the neighbours have been suspended since January, when India postponed scheduled meetings on Kashmir and other problems after an attack on an Indian air force base that killed seven soldiers.
The January 2 attack on the base in the northern Indian town of Pathankot came days after a surprise visit to Pakistan by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi that raised hopes of a thaw in relations between the two nuclear-armed nations. India has blamed Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad group for the attack.
Adviser to the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz had earlier this week said the talks had not been cancelled even though these could be called suspended as there had been no engagement between the two countries since the Pathankot attack.
Indian Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesman Vikas Swarup has said the dialogue had not been suspended and that the visit by JIT to Pathankot had taken place in a very “constructive and co-operative” environment. “We welcome co-operation to combat terrorism in all its forms,” he added. Swarup stressed that the dialogue process with Islamabad “has not been suspended.”
While the Pakistan Foreign Office had said that there was still no official request from India for a return visit by NIA to Pakistan, Swarup said New Delhi will consider taking the next step at an appropriate time. NIA though has already announced that it wants to visit Pakistan to carry forward the Pathankot probe.
Last month, Pakistan sent five investigators to India to probe the attack. India appears to be evaluating Pakistan’s response before it sends a senior External Affairs Ministry official to Pakistan to resume talks.
On the status of Indo-Pak dialogue, Swarup said, “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.”