Sending out a dual message to Pakistan, the government said on Wednesday that it would continue to engage with Pakistan to ensure it makes progress on the Pathankot investigation, but also made it clear that the Sharif government would have to show “sincerity” as it is Pakistan where most terror attacks come from.
“Most of the terror attacks emanate from Pakistan. Pakistan has to show some sincerity and take action against terrorists operating from its soil,” Home Minister Rajnath Singh said at a counter-terror conference in Jaipur adding, “Our government will stand by Pakistan if it takes decisive action against terrorists and their organisations. “
Earlier in the day foreign secretary S.Jaishankar had said that despite the attacks, India would continue to engage Pakistan at both the Foreign Secretary and National Security Advisor levels.
“Only by remaining in touch, we can expect them to progress on issues of terror on the basis of information which we have provided to them," Mr. Jaishankar said, answering a question from The Hindu on whether the government is now prepared for ‘talks and terror’ to go together.
No clear signs
The statements by the Foreign secretary and the Home Minister, as well as statements on Tuesday by President Pranab Mukherjee and NSA Ajit Doval indicate the government’s next steps with Pakistan are still under discussion, with no clear signs on whether India will go ahead with Foreign secretary-level talks that were called off last month.
Apart from Rajnath Singh, none of the government’s top leadership that addressed the Counter Terrorism Conference organized by the BJP-affiliated think-tank India Foundation named Pakistan in their speeches on fighting terror. However each of them made pointed references to the scourge of state-sponsored terror, and called for more international solidarity to isolate those states.
“Naming and shaming must be carried out relentlessly in the case of perpetrators, supporters and connivers of terrorism,” Mr. Jaishankar said as he made a pitch for the ratification of the India-sponsored Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT) at the United Nations.
Focussing on India’s moves to prevent terror attacks, Mr. Singh called for more coordination amongst security agencies, and said the government is working on a ‘National Security Strategy’.
“Terrorism gets compounded when certain states use it as an instrument of their foreign policy. Terrorism is a hydra-headed monster fed by massive supply of funds through different routes. It is a big challenge to cut these supply lines,” he added.
The statements coming from the government are a break from the past few weeks where very few public statements had been made, and the government had left it to the MEA spokesperson to convey its position. However officials admitted a growing frustration with the pace of Pakistan’s investigations into the Pathankot attacks and the lack of action visible on the ground against the Jaish e Mohammad and its leader Masood Azhar, suspected of carrying out the attack which left 7 Indian soldiers dead. Last week, Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif admitted that the attacks had “disturbed talks that were going in the right direction” and committed to going to “any length to bring the perpetrators to book”.