Post-Pulwama, Pakistan shared inputs on militant attacks, claims report

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The Pakistan Army shared intelligence inputs on militant attacks with India via the United States’s Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) as it attempted to “reopen the door” to back-channel talks with New Delhi in the aftermath of the 2019 Pulwama attack.

The explosive claim been made in a report published by Indian news portal News18, which further claimed that Pakistan Army “shared warnings on terrorist attacks through the Central Intelligence Agency, and acted against the leadership of several jihadist groups.”

The report quoted “Islamabad-based sources” who revealed that the Pakistan Army chief General Qamar Bajwa visited London in June 2019 to “ask interlocutors in the United Kingdom to persuade new Delhi to reopen the secret channel.”

The report claimed that a secret channel between India’s external intelligence, the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), and Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) in 2018 and the first round of one-on-one meetings was held at a hotel in London.

The meetings between senior intelligence officers, News18 reported, was authorised by General Bajwa and India’s National Security Advisor Ajit Doval. The channel — described as the “London dialogue” — was broken after an Indian paramilitary convoy in Kashmir was bombed, killing at least forty troopers.

The February 2019 bombing of the paramilitary convoy in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district had led to India and Pakistan to carry out rare airstrikes in each other’s territories. India claimed to have gunned down all militants affiliated with the Jaish-e-Muhammad, who had carried out the attack, in Kashmir during the next few months.

There has been no significant militant attack since the 2019 Pulwama bombing even as militants have carried out sporadic hit-and-run attacks on government forces and low-profile political assassinations in Kashmir.

According to the data tabled in the Indian parliament, militant infiltration last year from Pakistan has been the lowest since the eruption of the insurgency in the region.

Despite the unilateral abrogation of J-K’s limited-autonomy by New Delhi in August 2019, News18 reported, militant groups “continued to be muzzled, and violence remained in decline” even though Pakistani politicians “unleashed a barrage of hostile polemic against India.”

“This alone gave enough reason to open the secret dialogue,” News18 quoted an unnamed officer, familiar with the negotiations.

India and Pakistan made a surprise announcement last month to uphold the 2003 ceasefire agreement along the Line of Control in J-K and earlier this week reports emerged that Indian Army will take part in an anti-terror drill in Pakistan.

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