• Tuesday, Oct 22, 2019
  • Last Update : 06:20 pm

India urges Pakistan on air base attack

  • Published at 03:01 pm January 5th, 2016

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has urged Pakistan to take action against militants India says are responsible for a recent attack on an air base.

He phoned his counterpart Nawaz Sharif and called for an "immediate" response to the assault on the Pathankot base.

Mr Sharif promised Pakistan would take "prompt and decisive action against the terrorists", Indian officials said.

Indian troops killed six militants after a four-day battle at the Pathankot air base in Punjab.

India's Press Information Bureau said Pakistan had provided "specific and actionable" information on the attack.

It started on Saturday, when a group of gunmen - wearing Indian army uniforms - entered the residential quarters on the base. Three days of heavy gunfire followed as India troops battled the gunmen.

India's Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Tuesday told journalists that "all six terrorists were neutralised". But he added that the combing operation was likely to continue for days before the air base could be declared completely safe.

Mr Parrikar said the troops took more than three days to "neutralise the militants" because the air base was huge.

The attack is being seen as a blow to an apparent Indo-Pakistani peace initiative launched just days ago.

Hopes for a thaw in relations were raised after Mr Modi paid an unexpected visitto his Pakistani counterpart, Nawaz Sharif.

The United Jihad Council - a coalition of more than a dozen militant groups fighting against Indian rule in Kashmir - claimed its "national highway squad" was behind the attack.

The council, based in Pakistan-administered Kashmir, is headed by Syed Salahuddin who also leads Hizb-ul Mujahiddin, the longest surviving Kashmiri militant group.

It said it wanted to show India that no security establishment was out of reach from militants, and that India should allow all Kashmiris to decide their political future.

Over the weekend some Indian security officials suggested the Pakistan-based Islamist militant group Jaish-e-Mohammed was to blame. India says the group is backed by Pakistan, but Islamabad denies this.