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PM visits Pathankot, voices satisfaction over counter attack

Last updated on: January 10, 2016 00:11 IST

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday visited the strategically important IAF base in Pathankot 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.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi being given a presentation on counter-terrorist and combing operation by the Defence Forces, at Pathankot Airbase. The Chief of Army Staff, General Dalbir Singh is also seen. Photograph: PIB

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.

"Noted with satisfaction the decision-making & its execution, the considerations that went into our tactical response," PMO tweeted after his 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," it said in another tweet.

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.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi being received by the Chief of Army Staff General Dalbir Singh and the Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha on his arrival, at Pathankot Airbase. Photograph: PIB

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 accomodation 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.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi being given a presentation on counter-terrorist and combing operation by the Defence Forces, at Pathankot Airbase. Photograph: PIB

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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