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Gunbattle rages, hopes dim on foreign secy talks

With six terrorists being eliminated on Monday in synergized military operations at IAF base at Pathankot, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Monday said that the government will take a view on talks between India and Pakistan after the operations come to a conclusive end. “Let the operation get over then the government will take a view,” Jaitley said when asked if Indo-Pak talks will be affected in the wake of the Pathankot attack. After a high-level meeting presided by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday, Jaitley said that the terror strike at Pathankot air base was a fidayeen attack and the objective was to cause loss to its strategic assets.

“PM discussed Pathankot attack and Northeast quake at National Security Council meet today,” said Jaitley. “They were trained terrorists, suicide squads with the objective to inflict maximum damage. The way our security forces took prompt action prevented in major assets being destroyed,” he said, adding, “Security forces succeeded in all objectives - minimal casualties, protecting strategic assets and neutralizing terrorists.”  The minister added, “The terrorists were confined and four bodies are in possession of the security forces.”

The Foreign Secretary-level talks with Pakistan scheduled for later this month look dismal if evidence emerges that Pakistan’s state actors were complicit in the terror attack on Pathankot air base. PM Modi earlier reviewed the situation arising out of the terror attack at Pathankot’s air base. Soon after his return from Karnataka on Sunday night, he chaired a meeting of top officials including National Security Adviser Ajit Doval, Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar. On talks with Pakistan, Jaitley said, “Govt will decide on Indo-Pak talks once the operation gets over.” External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had on Sunday held a meeting with former Indian envoys to Pakistan to discuss the way forward in wake of the Pathankot attack.

Answering a question on why the operation at the air base was a long one, Jaitley maintained, “The explosives were in huge number and the area was big, so the exercise took time. Even in Mumbai, the operation continued for a very long time because these are trained terrorists.” He refused to comment on who was behind the terror attack, “We are at a stage when the operations are on, and so we cannot talk about who is behind the attacks.”

Lauding the valiant efforts of the security personnel who sacrificed their lives defending the Pathankot air base, Jaitley said the main aim of the well-trained terrorists was to harm strategic assets. He emphasised that the lessons learnt from the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks helped the security personnel at Pathankot. “A lot has been learnt from the Mumbai attacks, this led our security forces to stop the terrorists at the entrance and keep them at distance from our strategic assets,” he added.

Meanwhile, NSA Ajit Doval’s visit to China for talks with top Chinese leaders has been put off in the wake of the Pathankot terror attack. The visit has been put off due to scheduling problems, a Chinese Foreign Ministry official said.

Pathankot attacks
  •  Prime Minister Modi holds top level meeting
  •  FM Arun Jaitley describes it as fidayeen attack
  •  India to provide terrorists call details to Pakistan
  •  Decision on India-Pak talks after Pathankot operation ends
  •  Pakistan says working on leads provided by India
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