PM Narendra Modi visits Pathankot air base, voices satisfaction with counteroffensive

Pathankot: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday visited the strategically important IAF base here and reviewed the situation with the Air Force chief and other top officials in the aftermath of last Saturday's brazen attack by suspected Pakistani terrorists.

Narendra ModiPrime Minister Narendra Modi at the air base camp. Pic/PMO India Twitter account

Modi spent about 90 minutes at the air base during which he was briefed about the attack and security measures put in place at the facility in its wake. Air Force chief Air Marshal Arup Raha and National Security Guard officials briefed the Prime Minister about the attack and the counteroffensive launched against the perpetrators with the help of of maps, aerial pictures and operational photographs, defence sources said.

Modi also went around the scene of the audacious 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 six slain perpetrators. Seven Indian security personnel were also killed during the assault.

The Prime Minister was taken around the Military Engineering Service Yard where the terrorists were first engaged by the security forces and the two-storey billet for airmen's accommodation where the last two terrorists were killed after the structure was blown up by the security forces, before undertaking an aerial survey of the forward positions along the Indo-Pakistan border. The base was kept out of bounds for the media.

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. Six terrorists, believed to owe allegiance to Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed were gunned down by the security forces after a four-day gun battle. The operation to ensure that no terrorist was hiding was carried out jointly by Army, NSG and IAF's Garud commandos. Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar had also visited the base on January five and admitted to 'some gaps' that made the attack possible.

Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had 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.

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