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Sushma, foreign ministry mandarins brainstorm on future Pak strategy

The terror strike is expected to have implications on the meeting between the foreign secretaries of the two countries scheduled for 14-15 January.

The government discussed a strategy on Pakistan with former foreign secretaries and ex-envoys to the neighbouring country. The External Affairs Ministry did not give details of this unusual meeting and termed it only as “diplomatic consultations on Pakistan strategy”. The meeting called by Swaraj was attended among others by S K Lambah, G Parthasarathy, Shyam Saran, Shivshankar Menon, Satyabrata Paul, Sharad Sabharwal and TCA Raghavan. The meeting took place amid a raging debate over the possible impact of the Pathankot terror strike on Indo-Pak dialogue which had got a boost after a surprise Lahore visit by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to meet his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif.

According to reports although the meeting was earlier scheduled for a later date, it acquired an entirely new dimension after Saturday’s terror attack at Pathankot. Reportedly the future course of the dialogue between the two countries will be decided in the next few days after a clear assessment of the Pathankot attack and the extent to which the Pakistani establishment was involved. Home Minister Rajnath Singh had said though India is keen on good ties with Pakistan but it will give a “fitting reply to terror attacks”.  “You cannot change your neighbour, you can change friends and therefore we must continue with the talks but talks have to be mainly on the issue of terrorism and that’s what exactly India is doing,” said Union Minister Prakash Javadekar.

Pakistan has condemned the attack. A statement from its foreign office said, “Building on the goodwill created during the recent high level contacts between the two countries, Pakistan remains committed to partner with India as well as other countries in the region to completely eradicate the menace of terrorism afflicting our region.”
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