NEW DELHI: India has agreed to receive a special investigation team from Pakistan, and extend it full cooperation, with a view to apprehending the terrorists involved in the Pathankot terror attack. This decision by the two governments, follows high level talks at the official level, and signifies a major step ahead in realising an old Pakistan proposal for joint cooperation against terrorism.

India’s Ministry of External Affairs confirmed today that the Pakistan proposal to send a SIT team to the Pathankot Air Force base was welcome, and that all Indian investigative agencies would cooperate fully. MEA spokesperson Vikas Sarup told reporters that the action taken by Pakistan against Jaish e Mohammad after the terror attack was an important and positive first step. Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had convened a top level meeting after the Pathankot attack in which a decision had been taken to investigate the matter, and take action against Jaish.

This is a major step forward as it sets into motion the joint cooperation on terrorism that New Delhi has been hedging about for a few years now. Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was not able to move forward on this front, facing stiff resistance from the BJP at that time. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has , however, opened the doors for this cooperation with the Pakistan investigators scheduled to arrive here soon.

The US had earlier supported the need for joint cooperation on this, with similar reiteration recently. After the Pathankot attack US State Department spokespersons said that they expected both India and Pakistan to work together to resolve the issue, by finding and taking action against the perpetrators together.

Media reports that Jaish leader Mansoor Azhar had been arrested have been denied by Pakistan Foreign Office. New Delhi also said that it had received no such confirmation.

It is clear that New Delhi is moving ahead with the dialogue, despite the pressure from sections within to cancel this altogether. Hindutva activists vented their ire by attacking the Delhi office of the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) smashing computers, and windows before security arrived.

Sarup said that the foreign secretaries were in touch, and the talks would be resumed very soon. When asked why these were postponed at all, he said that both sides required some time to sort out issues. He said that he had no information about a meeting between the two respective National Security Advisors in Paris as has been reported sections of the media.