New Delhi: India on Thursday said the visit of the Pakistani joint investigation team (JIT) probing the terror attack on the Pathankot airbase was on a reciprocity basis after Pakistani High Commissioner Abdul Basit claimed to the contrary.
“We have seen comments by the Pakistani high commissioner on the visit of the JIT team to investigate the terrorist attack on the Pathankot airbase that have reference to reciprocity,” the external affairs ministry said in a statement.
“The ministry would like to clarify that on March 26, 2016, before the visit of the JIT, the Indian high commission formally conveyed to the Pakistani foreign ministry that the terms of reference 'are broadly agreed to with the proviso that these would be on the basis of reciprocity and followed in accordance with extant legal provisions',” it said.
“Subsequently, the JIT visited from March 27 to April 1, 2016.”
After a team of Pakistani officials visited Pathankot to probe Indian charges that Pakistani terrorists were to blame for the terror attack, New Delhi had expected Islamabad to allow a National Investigation Agency (NIA) team to visit that country to take the investigation forward.
But, addressing a press conference here, Basit ruled out the possibility.
"The investigation is not about reciprocity," he said.
Asked at the Foreign Correspondents Club about a meeting between the foreign secretaries of the two countries, Basit said: "There is no meeting scheduled for now. I think at present the peace process is suspended.”
In this connection, the external affairs ministry, in its statement, referred to the response of the Pakistan foreign ministry spokesman to a question in his press conference on Thursday in which he said: "Your question implies whether the foreign secretary level talks will take place or not. I have stated this many times that both countries are in contact with each other and it has been reiterated from both sides that modalities are being worked out.
“I will again state that negotiations are the best means to resolve the issues. I have read the statement of the Indian foreign secretary you are referring to and in that also there was indication that the talks would take place.”
Foreign secretary-level talks between the two countries scheduled for the middle of January this year, were derailed following the January 2 cross-border attack on the Pathankot Indian Air Force base in which seven Indian security personnel were killed.
The Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad claimed responsibility for the attack in which the six attackers were also reportedly killed.