Indo-Pak Talks To Be Rescheduled For The 'Very Near Future' After Pathankot Attack

14/01/2016 4:49 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST
Indian activists carry photographs of the chief of Jaish-e-Mohammad, Maulana Masood Azhar (L) and chief of Pakistan's outlawed Islamic hardline Jamaat ud Dawa (JD), Hafiz Mohammad Saeed (R) during a protest against the attack on the air force base in Pathankot, in Mumbai on January 4, 2016. Indian troops backed by helicopters searched an air force base January 4, after a weekend of fierce fighting with suspected Islamic insurgents in which seven soldiers and at least four attackers were killed. AFP PHOTO/ Indranil MUKHERJEE / AFP / INDRANIL MUKHERJEE (Photo credit should read INDRANIL MUKHERJEE/AFP/Getty Images)

NEW DELHI -- India today welcomed the "positive steps" taken by Pakistan in arresting members of Jaish-e-Mohammad, the terrorist group which is suspected to have masterminded the Pathankot attack, and announced that Indo-Pak talks will be "rescheduled for the very near future."

Addressing a press conference today, MEA spokesperson Vikas Swarup said that the Foreign Secretaries of India and Pakistan had spoken over the phone, and they mutually agreed to reschedule the talks "for the very near future."

The arrest of JeM members is an "important and positive first step," Swarup told reporters, adding that New Delhi would welcome an investigative team from Pakistan and extend all possible help to its probe into the Pathankot attack.

Following the deadly attack on the Indian air base in Punjab, New Delhi said that the Foreign Secretary-level talks scheduled for Jan. 15 would only be held if Islamabad acted on "actionable intelligence" provided by the Modi government.

Swarup said that New Delhi had no information on the arrest of JeM chief Maulana Masood Azhar.

On Wednesday, the Pakistani media reported that Azhar, his brother and others belonging to his group had been arrested. But the Pakistan government has not confirmed Azhar's arrest.

Azhar was arrested in Kashmir in 1994, but the Indian government was forced to release him along with with two other Pakistani terrorists in an exchange for 155 passengers who were held hostage for seven days after an Afghanistan-bound Indian Airlines flight was hijacked in 1999.

All six terrorists, who attacked the Indian Air Force base in Punjab on the night of December 31-January 1, were killed in counter-operations which lasted for three days.

The deadly attack, which claimed the lives of seven security personnel, came a week after Modi made a surprise visit to Pakistan on his way back from Kabul to New Delhi.

Following the attack, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif promised "prompt and decisive" action, and he has held meetings with senior officials in his government to investigate the Pathankot attack.

"Several individuals belonging to Jaish-e-Mohammed have been apprehended. The offices of the organisation are also being traced and sealed," Sharif's office said on Wednesday.

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