Pathankot air force base is about 430km (270 miles) north of the Indian capital, Delhi and is on the road linking Indian-administered Kashmir with the rest of the country.
All vital installations and government offices were informed about a likely terror attack and efforts were mounted to track down the terrorists who had earlier killed a taxi driver, he said.
PATHANKOT, India (AP) – A fifth gunman was killed Monday on the third day of a siege at a heavily fortified Indian air base near the border with Pakistan and at least one attacker remained as troops worked to secure the sprawling compound, a military official said. A civilian was also killed during the attack, an official said Saturday.
“The terrorists were cordoned off in one area and the operation continued throughout the night (Saturday) and in the morning (Sunday)”, he said.
The Foreign Secretary-level talks with Pakistan scheduled for later this month looks in serious jeopardy with strong indications that the government may call off the engagement if evidence emerges that Pakistan’s state actors were complicit in the attack on Pathankot’s air base.
The number of intruders had been put at six by officials in the last two days and the figures given by Jaitley implied that all of them have been eliminated. Dhamoon said seven security personnel – one Garud commando, five from the DSC and one officer of the NSG – were killed. Combing operations to secure the Indian air force base where a group of militants started an atta… No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, which comes just days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Kabul and his diplomatic outreach to Pakistan.
The Pathankot base and the northern state of Punjab, where it is located, has “probably the highest concentration of military personnel in India because it’s so close to the border with Pakistan”, Bedi said. “Nobody knows who is really in charge”, said Rahul Bedi, an analyst for Jane’s Information Group. The grenade went off during search operations by security personnel.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh even tweeted Saturday night to congratulate the troops for successfully killing all of the gunmen.
The statement is seen in India as an attempt to show that Kashmiri insurgents were responsible and not militants originating from Pakistan. “The meeting was held to discuss India’s strategy vis-a-vis Pakistan following Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s dramatic stopover in Lahore from Kabul to New Delhi on December 25 a year ago to meet his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif”.
In Pakistan, Sharif’s foreign affairs adviser, Sartaj Aziz, said in a radio interview Saturday that Pakistan wants to consolidate its improved relations with India.
As the attack continues, authorities in New Delhi have also ramped up security.
Two of the senior diplomats who attended the meeting with Ms Swaraj told The Hindu that the government can save the dialogue process only by reaching out to the public in a manner of consultation, as otherwise it will find it hard to justify Foreign Secretary-level talks for mid-January following the terror strike on Pathankot.