National Security Adviser Ajit Doval is a very sharp man. A former spy, Doval is known to measure his words carefully before speaking them. However, on Monday morning, he found himself in a difficult position.
Hindi daily on Monday published an interview of Doval in which he was quoted as saying: “Till the time Pakistan takes action against perpetrators of the Pathankot airbase terror attack and India is satisfied with that action, we will not hold any peace talks. In consequent to this, the January 15 Foreign Secretary-level talks due to be held in Lahore have also been cancelled. Now, no talks will happen before action (against terrorists)."
However, shortly after the interview was published this morning, Doval told news agency ANI that he could not recall giving any such interview. “I do not remember giving any such interview," he told ANI. And while speaking to media, Doval denied saying the Indo-Pak talks had been cancelled.
The NSA said he had only asserted that the dates for the talks had not been fixed yet. From making a clear-cut statement in the Dainik Bhaskar interview that the January 15 talks have been cancelled, to saying the dates for the talks have not been fixed as yet, NSA Doval has made contradictory statements causing confusion.
However, he has made it clear that the scheduled talks on January 15 are not happening untill Pakistan takes action against Pathankot airbase attack masterminds. Pakistan has promised to do so, but we will have to wait and see if that really happens.