Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited an Indian Air Force base in Punjab’s Pathankot on Saturday as he took stock of the ground reality in the aftermath of an attack on the strategic facility by militants suspected to be from Pakistan.
Modi spent about 90 minutes at the airbase, and Air Force chief Air Marshal Arup Raha and National Security Guard officials briefed him about the attack and the counter-offensive launched by the forces.
Modi also went around the scene of the attack that exposed the chinks in the armour of the Indian security establishment and was shown the huge cache of weapons and ammunition recovered from the perpetrators.
Suspected Jaish-e-Mohammad terrorists launched an attack on the Pathankot airbase last Saturday. The siege continued for three days, and ended after security forces killed all six terrorists involved in the siege. Seven security personnel were also martyred in the operation.
Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has called up Modi and promised action against the perpetrators of the brazen attack. India has said it has handed over specific and actionable information regarding Pathankot attack to Pakistan.
The PM was taken around the Military Engineering Service Yard where the militants met with the first resistance by security forces. He also visited two-storey billet for airmen’s accommodation where the last two terrorists were killed after the structure was blown up by security forces.
“Noted with satisfaction the decision-making & its execution, the considerations that went into our tactical response,” the official handle of the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) tweeted after Modi’s visit to the airbase.
“Also noted coordination among various field units. Lauded bravery & determination of our men & women on the ground. They are our pride,” the PMO said in another tweet.
PM Modi also undertook an aerial survey of the forward positions along the India-Pakistan border.
An official press release said in Delhi that National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, Army chief Dalbir Singh and chiefs of NSG and BSF were present during the visit.
Officials of the NIA, which has taken over the probe into the attack, also briefed the Prime Minister on the progress of the investigation.
Security forces had on Friday declared the sprawling air force station fully sanitised after a massive combing operation spanning over three days.
“The combing operation at the Air Force station is over,” a senior IAF official said, adding the entire area has been sanitised.
Defence minister Manohar Parrikar had also visited the base on January five and admitted to “some gaps” that made the attack possible.
(with PTI inputs)