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Pakistan Determined to Help India Probe Air Base Attack

Indian Muslims pay tribute to Indian soldiers killed in the recent Pathankot air base attack, outside a mosque in New Delhi, Jan. 8, 2016.
Indian Muslims pay tribute to Indian soldiers killed in the recent Pathankot air base attack, outside a mosque in New Delhi, Jan. 8, 2016.

Pakistan on Friday reiterated its resolve to cooperate with India on investigating last week’s militant assault on India's Pathankot air base that left several security personnel dead and 22 others wounded. The base, located in India's northern Punjab state, is about 50 kilometers from the border with Pakistan.

The attackers allegedly were in contact with handlers in Pakistan. Indian authorities say that they have shared information, including phone numbers, with Pakistani officials to help them locate the suspects.

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Friday summoned a meeting in Islamabad of his top civilian advisers, military leaders and the head of the spy agency to discuss cooperation with India to “completely eradicate the menace of terrorism.”

On Thursday, New Delhi called on Islamabad for “prompt and decisive” action against the militants involved in the attack on the Pathankot air base.

“In line with Pakistan’s commitment to effectively counter and eradicate terrorism, the meeting reviewed the progress made on the information provided by the government of India,” said a statement Sharif’s office issued after the high-level meeting. It promised to stay in touch with the Indian government in this regard.

Officials in New Delhi say they gave Pakistan “specific and actionable information” regarding the assault.

Bilateral meeting

The violence has prompted concerns about a long-awaited meeting scheduled for next week in Islamabad between the foreign ministers of India and Pakistan.

The fate of the talks rested on Pakistan’s response to the information, Indian government spokesman Vikas Swarup stated on Thursday.

Pakistani foreign policy adviser Sartaj Aziz told parliament on Friday the meeting will take place January 15 in which the two sides will discuss modalities for a wide-ranging bilateral dialogue and its time frame.

“The comprehensive dialogue will include all outstanding issues, including the Jammu and Kashmir dispute,” Aziz said.

Efforts to ease tensions and normalize ties between India and Pakistan have been derailed by such attacks in the past; but, the two sides are apparently attempting to prevent disruption this time and are directly engaged with each other to overcome the current crisis.

Analysts credit Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s surprise “goodwill” trip late last month to Pakistan, where he met with Sharif and both sides agreed to work closely to address each other's concerns.