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India having second thoughts about foreign secretary-level talks with Pakistan

05 January, 2016

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NEW DELHI: India is thinking its options on whether to go ahead with foreign secretary-level talks with Pakistan scheduled for later this month after militants attacked an Indian Air Force (IAF) base over the weekend, a government official said on Monday.

A final decision on the talks, scheduled for January 15, is expected to be taken after security forces have completed their operation at the Pathankot air base, near the Pakistan border, the source said, requesting anonymity. The move comes after a brazen militant attack on the Pathankot air base, a sprawling compound that lies 25km from the border with Pakistan, on January 2.

The attack, a rare targeting of an Indian military installation outside the disputed region of Kashmir, threatens to undermine a tentative thaw in relations with Pakistan.

A fresh gun battle commenced on January 3 and fresh firing was reported on Monday. Pakistan strongly condemned the attack. An alliance of Kashmiri fighter groups on Monday claimed the deadly attack on the Indian Air Force’s Pathankot airbase.

The United Jihad Council (UJC) said in a statement released that the attack was a message to India that Kashmiri fighters could strike at any sensitive installation across India.

“Pathankot air base attack has been carried out by the mujahideen associated with National Highway Squad,” said Syed Sadaqat Hussain, a spokesman for the UJC. “Pakistan has nothing to do with the attack but ironically the Indian government, media and their armed forces are suffering from Pakistanphobia,” added the UJC spokesman .

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