New Delhi: Today, Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived at Pathankot air force base to carry out a firsthand assessment of the situation one week after a militant attack left seven soldiers dead. (Press Trust of India reported)
PM flew to the airbase in northern Punjab state to conduct an aerial survey of the area, following the strike by gunmen whom officials suspect belonged to the banned Jaish-e-Mohammad group. It follows criticism from the opposition Congress party of the apparent security lapse that allowed the militants to infiltrate the strategically important base.
On Friday, security forces said they had finally sanitised the sprawling installation after a lengthy search operation, PTI said.
Earlier in the week, an alliance of Kashmiri militant groups had claimed the deadly attack on the Indian Air Force’s Pathankot airbase. The United Jihad Council (UJC) had stated in a statement released that the attack was a message to India that Kashmiri fighters could strike at any sensitive installation across India.
Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif had also assured his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi that Islamabad would not hesitate to take “prompt and decisive action” if the involvement of Pakistan-based elements in the attack on an Indian airbase was proved beyond doubt. Later, in a high-level meeting, presided over by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and attended by General Raheel Sharif, reiterated Pakistan’s commitment to cooperate with India on Pathankot incident.
The attack on the Pathankot airbase started before dawn on Saturday and a gunbattle between the militants and Indian forces is continuing into the third day, with the facility still not declared secure. At least seven Indian troops and five attackers have been killed in the three days. Indian Air Force’s Pathankot airbase is a mere 50 km from the Pakistan border, and is a major forward operational airbase of the IAF.