With Pakistan India wants a mere normal relationship

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New Delhi, Jan 16: There have been a lot of questions asked about the sincerity with which Pakistan will probe into the Pathankot incident considering the strike was launched from their soil.

There is a lot of cause for pessimism considering the manner in which Pakistan probed the case relating to the 26/11, Mumbai attack

Will Pak probe Pathankot case sincerly

Will Pakistan probe the Pathankot case sincerely? There is an opportunity for Pakistan here says Shishir Gupta leading strategic affairs expert and senior journalist with the Hindustan Times.

In this interview with OneIndia, Gupta says that what we want with Pakistan is a mere normal relationship so that we can control and defend ourselves.

Will Pakistan probe the Pathankot case sincerely? There is an opportunity for Pakistan here says strategic affairs expert and senior journalist with the Hindustan Times. In this interview with OneIndia, Gupta says that what we want with Pakistan is a mere normal relationship so that we can control and defend ourselves.

What is the update regarding the Pathankot probe in Pakistan?

Maulana Masood Azhar, the chief of the Jaish-e-Mohammad has not been arrested but has been taken into preventive detention. There are around 11 to 12 persons who have been questioned based on the call intercepts that India has provided them. They have also formed a committee which will probe into the matter.

Do you think Pakistan will conduct a sincere probe?

We would hope that would happen. However if one looks at the past and the probe into the 26/11 attack, there is obviously cause for pessimism. However now I think that Pakistan has an opportunity and can ensure that there is a workable relationship with India.

Read More: Timeline of Pathankot terror attack

Should talks with Pakistan continue?

Yes I think so. Engagement is not give and take. In terms of terrorism there are a series of groups which target India and we need to talk to Pakistan to act against such groups. These groups not only target India, but Afghanistan and Pakistan as well. On top of all this there is the looming ISIS threat in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh. Hence the agencies need to talk to each other.

What sort of relationship are we expecting with Pakistan?

We want a mere normal relationship. Trade is one issue that we would want to discuss. We need to take baby steps with Pakistan so that we can control and defend ourselves.

While expecting Pakistan to act is one part of the story the other is our internal security. What do you think needs to be done from within?

Look at the attacks of the recent past. Attacks have taken place at Tangdhar, Samba, Pathankot, Kathua and Gurdaspur. All these are border areas where the military attacks from Pakistan have come in the past. Despite all the security around these areas, there has still been infiltration.

Secondly these attacks have been in places where there are army bases. If the military and the para military forces are becoming soft targets what do we speak of the civilians?

On the Pathankot attack itself what we need to see is if there was credible response to the threat? Were the flood lights at the Pathankot air base working. Was the Defence Service Corps put on alert. These are the problems. My understanding is that there is a serious concern that the air force station was not on full alert.

Read More: Pathankot attack: Is ISI laying the groundwork for revival of Punjab militancy?

What about the BSF?

India has spent 1,000s of crores on border security. We cannot get away by say that terrorists came in through the nalas. There cannot be such excuses. If there are loop holes then fix it. The BSF needs to come out clean on how such a network of smugglers thrive along the border. All that said and done, each one must take responsibility and there is no time for blame game now.

What about Salwinder Singh?

He has to come clean. He was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Will Pakistan point fingers if we probe into the local link?

Pakistan does not have to point fingers. There is clearly a Jaish-e-Mohammad link and they have to probe that.

What about the references to Afzal Guru both at Mazar-e-Sharif and Pathankot?

I find it surprising that there was a reference to Afzal Guru at Mazar-e-Sharif. However that said and done, I feel that a pointer to Kashmir was being made.

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