Attack casts shadow on Lahore initiative
NEW DELHI: Even before the gunfire had died down at the Pathankot air base on Saturday, people across India had begun asking the inevitable question: Would this brazen terror attack neutralise the bonhomie and gains generated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s surprise visit to Lahore?
While New Delhi was quick to indicate its intention to take forward the proposed peace dia- logue, Pakistan’s foreign office condemned the Pathankot incident and committed itself to the “goodwill created during the recent high-level contacts and … partnering India in tackling terrorism”.
“Pakistan is our neighbouring country. We want good relations with not just Pakistan but with all our neighbours. We also want peace, but if there is any terror attack on India, we will give a befitting reply,” Union home minister Rajnath Singh said in Delhi without directly blaming Islamabad for the Pathankot incident.
But Saturday’s attack brought to the fore the danger Pakistanbased terror outfits pose to any effort at normalising bilateral ties. “Those who don’t want peace are creating nuisance,” said Jitender Singh, minister of state in the prime minister’s office. The attack is expected to increase pressure on Modi, especially from those who criticised his sudden Lahore visit to greet his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif on his birthday, after saying for months that talks and terrorism could not go together.
For those who adore Modi for his tough talk on terror and Pakistan, failure to act in the current circumstances will be perceived as a sign of weakness. But any rash action will be accompanied by the risk of scuppering all that was gained for the peace process.
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