Taking Action


While India believes that it had put the ball on this side of the court following the submission of ‘actionable intelligence’ to Pakistani authorities after the Pathankot attack, it seems that the Pakistani government does not deem the leads sufficient enough to act at this moment.

Obviously, the nature of the information provided has not been made clear, but it seems that the two governments are already on different pages regarding the attack, because India waits for direct action – arrests made, weapons found and links discovered – and Pakistan wants more evidence in order to do those things. The Prime Minister’s Advisor on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz claimed that the Foreign Secretary-level talks are still on, but the leadership of India has so far not given credence to this statement. However, the fact that this has not been opposed either is possibly a silver lining.

The Pakistani government and even the establishment do seem earnest about making the Pak-India relationship a more constructive one, given the two top-level meetings held regarding the issue, but at the same time, the government is justified in saying that it needs substantial evidence; in the case of an arrest, there has to be reasonable doubt and for the arrest to hold up in court, more hard evidence will also be required. But for now, at the very least, Pakistan can use its extensive intelligence network to find out who made the calls that were reportedly made from the handlers from this side of the border. It can crack down on areas where the calls were made from to flush out any terrorist cells. The government has to keep India in the loop as well, because a commitment has been made from one Head of Government to another, one that can be a potential game-changer in this relationship.

India on the other hand, should also be more forthcoming with information found following the attack. The easiest path to take for the Indian government following the attack is to do nothing and wait for Pakistan to play its hand. Reportedly there are demands from this side of the border for further evidence, including DNA samples of the attackers. These should be taken seriously, and both governments should keep the other in the loop regarding the investigation. While the Pathankot attack is being touted as yet another potential source of contention between the countries, on the flipside, it can be the one where the two governments finally work hand in hand to counter terrorism.

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