October 2016 News

India Retains Right To Protect Its Interests, Doval Tells Counterpart

4 October 2016
Times of India
Indrani Bagchi

New Delhi: In the first conversation between National Security Adviser (NSA) Ajit Doval and his Pakistani counterpart Nasir Khan Janjua since the Uri strike, India gave Pakistan details of the surgical strike carried out by the Indian Army last week. Addressing the refrain that the Pakistani leadership was ready to cooperate with India to investigate the Uri attack, Doval is understood to have stressed that Pakistani inaction after the Pathankot attack had robbed any confidence India may have had. It was put across to Janjua that India retained the right to protect its interests and this implicitly included actions such as the surgical strike across the LoC. The lack of confidence in Pakistan's 'offers' to investigate the Pathankot attack in January followed the absence of results after India invited a Pakistani team to the air base for investigation. Pakistan did not facilitate a return visit by Indian investigators to look into the attackers' Pakistan links. But the message drawn by Sartaj Aziz, Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif 's foreign policy adviser, from the NSAs' conversation was 'de-escalation', and this was put out in the media. It was a message reiterated by Pakistan high commissioner Abdul Basit in an interview on Tuesday. 'Both our countries understand war is not really a solution to our problems and there is simply no room for a conflict in a nuclear environment... It is important to avoid raising false expectations, as happened after the cross-LoC firing (how Pakistan refers to the surgical strike) on September 29. We cannot afford to go down that route,' said Basit. 'Statements are made, but I think both countries do understand serious implications of escalating the situation either horizontally or vertically,' he added. The talk of de-escalation has failed to move the government, and top sources maintained India would not relax its defence posture on the border, particularly in view of the continued firing by Pakistan and the repeated attacks on Indian security posts. Meanwhile, Russian envoy Vitaly Churkin, who is president of the UN Security Council for October, said on Monday in the UN that the Security Council did not have any discussion on the India-Pakistan situation. Pakistani envoy Maleeha Lodhi had asked the previous UNSC chair, New Zealand, to call for a discussion on the India-Pakistan situation. But when the New Zealand envoy raised it, there was no response from the members and no discussion. Churkin's remarks settled for Pakistan the entire campaign of trying to internationalise the current tensions.

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