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Indian troops still fighting 2 gunmen at Pathankot air base

A top Indian Air Force (IAF) officer said on Sunday evening that the operation against terrorists holed up in the IAF base near Pathankot was still continuing.

The renewed exchange of fire resulted in the killing of the militant at the Pathankot airbase, where fresh explosions and gunshots rang out again Sunday, said media reports.

The attackers were met with stiff resistance from the security personnel who were anticipating an attack, top sources said in Delhi, adding that the terrorists, hence, could not enter the air base.

Pathankot: Smoke could be seen coming out of the Indian Air Force (IAF) air base near here on Sunday evening as the gunfight between security forces and terrorists moved to an end.

Intelligence sources say the Jaish-e-Mohammad probably entered India along the banks of Beas on January 31 just hours after Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said the two countries can not live as enemies, according to an India Express report.

Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh Saturday tweeted “all five terrorists” have been killed but security officials at the site had found only four bodies.

The Defense Ministry said no aircraft or military equipment had been damaged in the fighting.

Pakistan’s foreign ministry, for its part, condemned the attack and its foreign affairs adviser Sartaj Aziz declared in a weekend radio interview that Islamabad wanted better relations with India.

The base is on the highway that connects India’s insurgency-plagued Jammu and Kashmir state with the rest of the country.

Modi’s surprise visit to Lahore had signalled a thaw in India-Pakistan relations but Saturday’s Pathankot terror attack is seen as an attempt by forces across the border to derail the proposed foreign secretary-level talks in Islamabad in the middle of this month.

Police are investigating whether the militants came from the Indian portion of Kashmir or from Pakistan.

Officers said they believed that up to two gunmen were still hiding inside the base.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility from any militant group for the attack.

Realising the impact of the attack on the peace process, foreign minister Sushma Swaraj reviewed the Pakistan policy with her senior officials.

Talks had been stalled over numerous contentious issues, particularly the November 2008 attack by 10 Pakistani gunmen on two luxury hotels and a Jewish centre in Mumbai, in which over 166 people died. In the past, when it was in opposition, Modi’s own right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has been the most vocal critic of engagement with Pakistan, saying that talks and terror should not go together.

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