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The Big Picture – Pak team in Pathankot: New Beginning or strategic folly?

The Big Picture – Pak team in Pathankot: New Beginning or strategic folly?


The relationship between India and Pakistan has taken a new turn with the arrival of a joint investigative team from Pakistan to probe the Pathankot airbase attack which took place in January. The arrival of the team and the presence of it in the airbase has assumed new proportions as the opposition parties have attacked the government for allowing it. However, this decision has opened up new possibilities. The Indian government’s decision to allow the team apparently consisting of ISI and Military intelligence officials has surprised many.

This decision gives rise to the following questions:

  1. Why has this been done?
  2. What is expected of this visit and how will it help the investigating agencies on the Indian side?
  3. Whether such visits become reciprocal and will lead to diplomatic breakthrough?
  4. Or is it some kind of blunder?


Soon after the attack the attack India had announced that it would allow Pakistan investigating agencies to visit India and modalities would be decided in advance. The recent visit is the consequence of this decision.

Why this is a good move?

Such events have not taken place earlier. It is a new beginning showing some signs of maturity and positivity in the relationship. Since the fallout of meeting between NSAs positive developments have been taking place. Due to some shared intelligence between the two countries, two terrorist attacks were also neutralized in Gujarat. So, same kind of reciprocity from Pakistan can be expected.

Why this would make a little difference?

However, according to some experts, there was no need for Pakistan probe team to visit India. DNA and telephone details have already been given. Some of the evidences collected at the site have also been handed over. So, it is being said that such tactics are often used to delay the investigation. It can be noted here that, after 26/11 attacks, despite the visit by a judicial team, nothing better was achieved. Also, no great insights can be gained by just a visit, say some experts. In the past too, Pakistan has failed to prove its credentials in combating terrorism. Hence, it is being felt that realism is being sacrificed in the whole event. And many are upset with the fact that the team consists of members from ISI. It is always claimed that most of the terrorist attacks are backed by the ISI.

Why, at this moment, it is difficult for Pakistan to control terror groups?

If it starts controlling now, there is a high probability that many of these terror groups would go and join the IS.


While many are skeptical about the latest developments, some see it as a confidence building measure between the two countries. However, only time can tell about the seriousness of the investigation and its outcome.