India has asked Pakistan to take ''prompt and decisive action'' against handlers of the terrorists who unleashed an attack on the Air Force base at Pathankot, in Punjab so that talks between foreign secretaries of the two countries can be held as scheduled.
Without categorically stating that talks can be held only if Pakistan acts to bring to book the terrorists and their handlers, external affairs ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup said, "The ball is in Pakistan's court. We are waiting for Pakistan's action on actionable intelligence... we are not giving any time frame... prompt means prompt."
The pre-condition that Pakistan cannot and may not accept, effectively means the talks scheduled for 15 January in Islamabad will be called off.
On whether the talks will be held at all, the foreign ministry official said, "The Pathankot attack has put renewed focus on cross border terrorism."
Swarup said India always wanted friendly relations with its neighbours, including Pakistan and the decision to hold comprehensive dialogue between the two countries was taken after a constructive meeting between the NSAs of India and Pakistan, who discussed all aspects concerning the two countries, including terror and the situation along the Line of Control.
He also referred to the telephonic conversation between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif on 5 January, during aired similar views on terror and its sponsors.
Besides, India's National Security Advisor Ajit Doval had shared "actionable intelligence" against Pakistani handlers and against Jaish-e-Mohammad mentor Maulana Masood Azhar with his Pakistani counterpart.
The two NSAs have spoken more than once in the past few days.
The Pathankot terror attack, which took place within a week of Prime Minister Modi's surprise visit to Lahore, has drawn flack from various quarters about the his government's Pakistan policy. It is meaningless to negotiate peace when sections of Pakistan's establishment continued to pursue cross border terrorism in complete disregard to his and Sharif's overtures for peace.
It remains to be seen how Pakistan responds to India's demands and conditions. For Sharif, however, it is a difficult ball game as both his domestic constituency and army are on the other side.