India may put off the foreign secretary-level talks with Pakistan that were scheduled for next week, as it deals with the terror attack at the Pathankot Airforce Base that continued for the third day on Monday till all six terrorists were gunned down.
The talks between the foreign secretaries were to be held in Islamabad on 15 January, but the Indian government is now said to be "mulling options" regarding the meeting, Press Trust of India reported.
"All options are open and we will not flinch from taking a hard decision if one is warranted by our assessment of whether Jaish(-e-Mohammad) terrorists were acting at the instance of official agencies in Pakistan," a government official was quoted as saying by The Times of India.
The attack on Pathankot's airbase was launched by at least six Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terrorists, and reports suggested that there were links to the Pakistani Army and the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Pakistan's spy agency.
The last two terrorists who were holed up since the attack began in the early hours of Saturday were killed on Monday, bringing the toll of the attackers to six. Seven Indian security personnel were killed in the attack, including National Security Guard Lieutenant Colonel Niranjan Kumar, who died in a grenade blast during a combing operation.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had held a meeting with senior officials, including National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar, on Sunday to chart out the course of action following the attack.
The National Security Advisors of India and Pakistan are expected to meet to discuss the Pathankot attack and steps needed to be taken by Pakistan to clamp down on the terrorists.
Opposition parties have already called for cancellation of talks with Pakistan in light of the attack in Pathankot, and criticised Modi for his recent "surprise" visit to Pakistan last month.
Modi's ostensibly impromptu visit was said to have been a sign of improving relations between the two nuclear-armed neighbours that have a history of border skirmishes and wars.
The final decision on the foreign secretaries' talks is likely to be taken this week.
Pakistan condemned the Pathankot terror attack, and China said the terror strike might have been "launched intentionally to disrupt the momentum" of improving ties between India and Pakistan.
"China hopes India and Pakistan can continue to enhance their dialogue regardless of these disruptions," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said, according to India Today.