05 January 2016 07:47:47 IST

Final call on India, Pakistan foreign secretary talks after Pathankot operations are over: govt

PM Modi holds two emergency meetings; NSA Doval cancels China visit

The government will take a “final call” on whether to go ahead with the Foreign Secretary level talks with Pakistan only after the combing operations at the Pathankot Air Force base is over. Sources said the entire operation may take another 48 hours.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said that a decision on the talks will be taken only when the operations are over. The government said it is “mulling options” on whether to go ahead with the talks, and how to avoid a “knee-jerk reaction” to the situation.

This came after Prime Minister Narendra Modi held two emergency meetings on Sunday night and Monday morning which was attended by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval and Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar.

PM apprised During the meeting, while the Prime Minister was apprised about the steps being taken to contain the situation at Pathankot, it was clear that the Foreign Secretary-level talks are in jeopardy and will have to be revised, sources said.

“We cannot cancel the talks as the core agenda of the meet was containing terror and the only possible way is to sit and talk it out…whichever way it is – talks or no talks – there will be criticism… We still stand by our approach that talks and terror cannot go together,” a high-level official told BusinessLine .

Although the Pakistan government had said the talks will be held on January 14-15 in Islamabad, no official dates have yet been announced by India.

NSA Doval also had to cancel his visit to China where he was to meet their Premier Li Keqiang.

Meanwhile, briefing reporters at Pathankot base, the NSG (National Security Guard) said operations will continue till they can “fully render the base safe.”

Later in the day it was revealed that it was not Jaish-e-Mohammed but United Jihad Council, a terrorist outfit based in Kashmir, which had carried out the attacks as they claimed responsibility for it.

On the other hand, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) set up a high-level committee to probe into the matter as to how the terrorists managed to enter the base, which is located near the India-Pakistan border.