Talks can go on, but apply caution: experts

January 03, 2016 12:09 am | Updated November 17, 2021 05:07 am IST - New Delhi:

Within hours of the terror attack on the Indian Air Force base in Pathankot, commentators sounded a note of caution for the government while it engages Pakistan through the Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue.

Lt. Gen. (Retd.) Syed Ata Hasnain tweeted: “Pathankot terrorist attack will place more pressure on Nawaz Sharif than Narendra Modi. I wrote on December 25 about the challenge of contingencies in India-Pak. peace process. That is the first thing on agenda before even agreeing to talk.” Several commentators told The Hindu that the initiative to begin talks with Pakistan seems to be facing opposition from anti-India elements deep inside the Pakistan establishment.

Coming down on the perceived softness on Pakistan following the December 25 Modi-Sharif meeting, Brig. (Retired) Gurmeet Kanwal said talks between India and Pakistan must not compromise India’s ability to punish Pakistani military and the militant groups for terror strikes on Indian soil. “India must follow a two-track dialogue with Pakistan which will give India the freedom to retaliate suitably when Pakistan fails to prevent attacks by terror groups that enjoy support of the Pakistan military,” he said.

Former External Affairs Minister K. Natwar Singh said that the terror strike has put a question mark on the entire peace initiative. “The terror attack which has come within days of the Lahore meeting … shows that Mr. Sharif does not have total control over the violent elements on the Pakistani side,” Mr. Singh said.

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