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After attack, India 'mulling options' over Indo-Pak FS-level talks

New Delhi: In wake of the terror attacks on the Pathankot air base by suspected Pakistani terrorists, India has said it is "mulling options" with regard to the Foreign Secretary-level talks with Pakistan scheduled to
India TV News Desk January 04, 2016 18:06 IST
India TV News Desk

New Delhi: In wake of the terror attacks on the Pathankot air base by suspected Pakistani terrorists, India has said it is "mulling options" with regard to the Foreign Secretary-level talks with Pakistan scheduled to be held in Islamabad on January 15.

Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar is scheduled to travel to Islamabad on January 14 to hold discussions with his Pakistani counterpart Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry to chalk out a roadmap to carry forward the engagement under the newly-announced "Bilateral Comprehensive Dialogue".

However, official sources today said the government was "mulling options" with regard to the Islamabad meeting.

There has been speculation that the talks may be deferred and that the National Security Advisors of the two countries
may meet to discuss the situation arising out of the Pathankot terror strike suspected to have been carried out by Pakistani terrorists.

Meanwhile Pakistan-based United Jehad Council (UJC), an umbrella organisation of about a dozen militant outfits, today claimed responsibility for the deadly attack on the airbase at Pathankot.

"The attack on the Pathankot Airbase was carried out by the National Highway Sqaud," Syed Sadaqat Hussain, presenting himself as UJC spokesman, claimed in an email statement to a local news agency here.

He, however, did not give the number of militants involved in the attack.

UJC comprises mostly the militant outfits active in Jammu and Kashmir.

Experts in Delhi expressed doubt over the authenticity of the claim as the Pathankot attack is widely believed to be the handiwork of Pakistan-backed Jaish-e-Mohammad terror outfit which is not part of UJC.

The claim is being seen as a diversionary tactic.

In a pre-dawn attack, a group of heavily-armed terrorists, suspected to be belonging to Jaish-e-Mohammed outfit, attacked the Air Force base in Pathankot.

The process of resumption of talks was set in motion after a meeting between Prime Ministers of India and Pakistan in Paris on November 30 on the sidelines of Climate Change Conference.

The meet was followed by the NSAs of India and Pakistan meeting in Bangkok a week later following which the External Affairs Minister visited Pakistan to attend Heart of Asia Conference during which the two sides announced the resumption of talks under "Bilateral Comprehensive Dialogue" process.

In a surprise move, Prime Minister Narendra Modi also visited Lahore on December 25 to greet his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif on his birthday in person.

The two foreign secretaries are scheduled to discuss modalities and other schedule-related aspects to carry forward the dialogue process.