Background: India-Pakistan relations, Terrorism, Uri terror attack, Pathankot terror attack, Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), Line of Control (LoC), Kashmir issue.
- Amid a war of words over surgical strikes across the Line of Control and the arrest of a soldier in Pakistani territory, India may have discussed steps for de-escalation with high-level contacts in Islamabad.
- External Affairs Ministry officials refused to confirm or deny that National Security Adviser Ajit Doval held talks with Pakistan as he had a separate channel not routed through the Ministry.
- Aziz denied that the surgical strikes had taken place, and said the NSAs discussed reduction of tension on the LoC, which had flared up as the Kashmir issue was not being addressed.
- The separate channel emerged between Doval and Lt. Gen (Retd.) Janjua in 2015 when they held a round of secret talks in Bangkok to break the deadlock over involving the separatists in dialogue. The talks were held against the backdrop of Pakistan’s insistence on including the separatists in talks.
- The secret talks were followed by declaration of a comprehensive bilateral dialogue between the two sides. However, it is not yet known if the NSA discussed the details of the surgical strikes.
- India had blamed the Pakistan-based terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed for the Uri attack on September 18 and the January 2 Pathankot airbase attack. However, China blocked India’s attempt to blacklist JeM leader Masood Azhar at the UN.