Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi have once again shown a great maturity when it comes to normalising bilateral ties.

Image courtesy: Times of India
Image courtesy: Times of India

A couple of hours after Indian Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar brought the curtains down on the fourth day by confirming that all six terrorists at the Pathankot air base were killed, Sharif made a phone call to Modi and discussed the involvement of Pakistani nationals in the terror attack. During their conversation on Tuesday evening, Sharif said that his government would take firm and immediate action against Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) and other Pakistan-based terror outfits involved in anti-India activities. He further assured the Indian premier of taking “prompt and decisive action” against the terrorists behind the Pathankot attack, confirming that Islamabad has received “specific and actionable” information about the attack from New Delhi.

The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) issued a statement, saying: “PM Modi received a call from the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif regarding the terrorist attack on the Pathankot air base. Modi strongly emphasised the need for Pakistan to take firm and immediate action against the organisations and individuals responsible for and linked to the Pathankot terrorist attack.”

On Monday, the Pakistani Foreign Office (FO) had said that Islamabad was working on the “leads” provided by New Delhi on the terror attack on the Indian Air Force (IAF) base in Pathankot. The FO also extended condolences to the Indian people on the terrorist attack, stressing: “We understand the pain of many families who have lost their dear ones in this tragedy, as Pakistan itself is a major victim of terrorism.”

As Pakistan has agreed to work on the leads provided by India, New Delhi refrains from blaming Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) – the largest of the three intelligence services of Pakistan – for helping terror outfits in launching attacks in India. Chief of India’s National Investigation Agency (NIA) Sharad Kumar told the press on Tuesday that the agency would seek help of Islamabad in resolving the Pathankot terror attack case only after establishing the identity of people contacted by the perpetrators (on January 2). After visiting the air base, he said that all the terrorists came from Pakistan. “Whatever evidence that is available in front of us till now is based on intercepted telephone calls between the terrorists and their handlers and family members across the border,” added Kumar. He further said that the Indian security agencies have found Pakistan-made batteries and EPCOT brand shoes made by Lahore’s East Pakistan Chrome Tannery. According to intelligence sources, the batteries were to be used probably to make explosive devices.

In view of the Pathankot attack, it can be assumed that Indian National Security Adviser (NSA) Ajit Doval and his Pakistani counterpart Naseer Khan Janjua will only discuss “terror” during their next meeting. After intercepting the call made by a terrorist to his mother informing about the impending fidayeen attack, Indian intelligence agencies have played the interception before NSA Doval and chiefs of the Indian Army, Air Force and Navy. Kumar revealed that six terrorists, aged 19-21, made eight phone calls to their handlers based in Pakistan’s Bahawalpur on the night of January 1-2 and took instructions from them. Now, Doval can ask the concerned Pakistani authorities to track down the mother of a terrorist, who apparently telephoned her from India. India will also send DNA samples of the six slain terrorists to Pakistan, as sample of the person, who reportedly called his mother, may help establish their relationship and confirm his identity.

Koushik Das, based in the Indian capital of New Delhi, is a senior news editor with more than 15 years of experience. He also runs a blog - Boundless Ocean of Politics. E-Mail: [email protected]