Indian and Pakistani NSAs may ‘meet quietly’

How complicated can we make the simple question: are Indian and Pakistani foreign secretaries meeting on Friday? The answer on Monday seemed couched in the witches’ prophecy of Macbeth: when the hurly-burly’s done and the battle’s lost and won.

So how do you define hurly-burly? A puzzling report on NDTV news channel suggests the national security advisers could meet secretly in a third country before the foreign secretaries are brought face to face.

Indian and Pakistani
Indian and Pakistani NSAs may ‘meet quietly’

The tone of the report is proper, bereft of the usual accusations. Pakistani officials have said that a key component of the evidence supplied by India about the terror attack doesn’t check out – the numbers that the six attackers called in the hours before opening fire at Pathankot are not registered in Pakistan, NDTV said quoting sources. “To resolve discrepancies and forge a plan for how to tackle the terror investigation, National Security Adviser Ajit Doval may…secretly in the next few days with his counterpart Nasser Khan Janjua in a third country,” the channel said. 

“In a demonstration of its intent to help India, up to five arrests were reportedly made in south Punjab in Pakistan today, though the government there has not released any information on the identity of the suspects.” In a separate development in the Pathankot terror case, the National Investigative Agency (NIA) was trying to secure Interpol’s black corner notice to seek information about unidentified bodies of terrorist who were killed during the attack at the airbase. The NIA has also recovered another mobile phone, binaculour, a magazine of AK-47 rifle from encounter site in Pathankot, reports said. Meanwhile, Indian National Security Adviser Ajit Doval on Monday reportedly said that there will be no talks between the Foreign Secretaries of India and Pakistan on January 15, and that India “will talk only if Pakistan takes action” on the perpetrators of Pathankot airbase attack. 

In remarks to ANI news service, the NSA reportedly clarified that no date had been confirmed for the talks, so they were not being cancelled, but added in a conversation with NDTV news channel on Monday morning that talks would happen only if Pakistan takes action. The flurry of comments and clarifications from the NSA and the PMO followed the publication of an interview by Hindi newspaper Dainik Bhaskar, in which Mr Doval reportedly said the talks “had been cancelled”. But that was apparently a misquotation. Or was it?