Pakistan pledges to cooperate with India on air base attack

Pakistan pledges to cooperate with India on air base attack after Delhi said it would continue planned talks with country only if Islamabad takes action

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif (R) talks with his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi in Lahore, Pakistan, December 25, 2015

The Pakistani prime minister and army chief on Friday pledged to cooperate fully with India, after Delhi said it would continue planned talks with the country only if Islamabad takes action against militants who are behind the deadly assault on the Pathankot air base.

On Monday, the United Jihad Council, an alliance of more than a dozen militant groups based in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir, claimed responsibility for an attack on the air base that killed seven Indian military personnel and wounded 22 others.

In a high-level meeting in Islamabad where Army Chief Raheel Sharif was also present, participants "reiterated Pakistan's commitment to cooperate with India to completely eradicate the menace of terrorism," Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's office said in a statement.

India said it gave Pakistan "specific and actionable information" regarding the four-day attack on the air base in Punjab, close to the Pakistan border, calling on Pakistani authorities for "prompt and decisive" action.

In the statement, Sharif's office said the information received from India had been reviewed in the meeting.

It also said Pakistan will stay in touch with India for further progress.

The foreign secretaries of the nuclear-armed neighbours are due to meet for talks on Jan. 15, but an Indian government official said the country could back out of the talks.

The attack came just a week after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi made an unscheduled visit to meet Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in Pakistan, to revive dialogue to end the insurgency in the region.  

The last visit to Pakistan by an Indian premier was in 2004 by then leader Atal Bihari Vajpayee, known for thawing relations with Islamabad.

"Pathankot terror attack has put renewed focus on cross-border terrorism," Ministry of External Affairs spokesman Vikas Swarup told a press conference in Delhi on Thursday. 

Early in December, both leaders agreed to restart high-level talks with a brief conversation during climate change talks in Paris that would cover peace and security as well as territorial disputes, including Kashmir, a Himalayan region that caused two wars between India and Pakistan since the region gained independence from Britain in 1947.

TRTWorld and agencies