India welcomes crackdown on JeM, awaits Pakistan team to probe Pathankot attack

INDIA-UNREST-PAKISTAN A security personnel stands outside the office of the National Investigation Agency in New Delhi | AFP

India on Thursday pledged to extend all help to a special team Pakistan proposes to send to Pathankot to investigate the terror attack on the IAF base.

External affairs ministry spokesman Vikas Swarup also said that India viewed the crackdown on the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) terrorist group in Pakistan as an "important and positive first step".

"We have noted that the Pakistan government is considering to send a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to investigate the Pathankot terror attack," he told the media.

"We look forward to the visit of the SIT. Our investigative agencies will extend all cooperation to bring the perpetrators of the attack to justice."

India says that the six terrorists who attacked the Indian Air Force (IAF) station in Pathankot in Punjab on January 2, killing seven security personnel, were Pakistanis and allied to the JeM.

The spokesman welcomed Pakistan's announcement on Wednesday that JeM activists had been arrested and its offices sealed. India blames the group for the Pathankot incident.

The crackdown on the JeM was an "important and positive first step" in the move to bring to justice the Pathankot attack plotters, he said.

The spokesman noted that considerable progress had been made into the investigation into the alleged links of Pakistani terrorists to the attack on the IAF base.

Foreign secretaries to meet soon

The foreign secretaries of India and Pakistan, who were to hold talks in Islamabad on Friday, will meet soon.

Vikas Swarup said the Indian foreign secretary spoke to his Pakistani counterpart and agreed to reschedule the Friday meeting.

They "mutually agreed to reschedule the talks to a date in the very near future", the spokesman said.

Pakistan had made a similar announcement just hours earlier.

Neither side said why the talks were postponed but it appeared to be linked to a crackdown New Delhi desires on Pakistani terrorists accused of plotting the January 2 attack on the IAF base in Pathankot.

Later, answering questions, the Indian spokesman said the fact the two countries had agreed to reschedule the talks "is a very positive indication".

He also said that the National Security Advisers of the two countries were in regular touch.

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