Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s birthday diplomacy in Lahore on Friday, that took even the well-glued senior government mandarins by surprise and provoked the opposition to slam it as “adventurism”, seems to be auguring well for the country in deriving some tangible results in the key problem area of cross-border terrorism.The quickened pace of developments that started with Modi-Sharif meeting on the sidelines of Paris climate summit on November 30, leading to secretive talks between national security advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval and his Pakistan counterpart Lt. Gen (Retd.) Nasir Khan Janjua in Bangkok on December 6, followed by external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj’s Pakistan visit and a tete-a-tete with Sartaj Aziz, is now leading to foreign secretary-level talks on January 15 under the new nomenclature of Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue.The foreign secretary-level talks, for which S Jaishankar is expected to head to Islamabad, will work out the modalities and schedule of the meetings under the dialogue including peace and security, CBMs, Jammu & Kashmir, Siachen, Sir Creek, Wullar Barrage/Tulbul Navigation Project, economic and commercial cooperation, counter-terrorism, narcotics control and humanitarian issues, people-to-people exchanges and religious tourism.The firming up of modalities are expected to lead to structured NSA-level talks later next year.While union home ministry remains clueless about the status of its role in the talks, the comprehensive bilateral dialogue seems to have taken the scope of cross-border terrorism out of its purview as it will now be discussed at the level of NSAs, instead of home secretary-level talks that existed well within its domain during composite dialogue.While, some see it as diminishing role of the union home ministry in issues related to Pakistan that directly impact country’s internal security situation for which it is solely accountable. It seems that the ministry’s role now would be limited to hold talks on narcotics smuggling and ceasefire violations at the borders, said sources.However, according to sources in the intelligence agencies, stepping up the level of cross-border terrorism to NSA is expected to put more pressure on Pakistan to speed up the trial of perpetrators of 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks, dismantling of terror camps in the Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK) and reining in banned Jamaat-ud-Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed.”The government has done well by letting NSA Ajit Doval handle the cross-border terrorism in its entirety. Doval is an old and expert hand and knows Pakistan too well. Given the international pressure, he is capable of extracting more from Pakistan than any other person in the government. We now expect to see gradual building up of pressure on Pakistan to deliver in matters related to Mumbai trial, Dawood’s deportation and squeezing terror groups by acting on their finances and training camps,” said sources.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>

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Narendra Modi-Nawaz Sharif bonhomie takes dialogue process to higher levels