With the attack on Pathankot airbase threatening to derail the dialogue-revival process between the two countries, Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif called up Indian counterpart Narendra Modi Tuesday, promising “prompt and decisive action” against those behind the strike.
The call from Sharif came as the government announced that all six terrorists who had attacked the airbase and used “Pakistan-made” equipment had been killed by security forces.
Watch: Pathankot Attack Update; Sharif Tells Modi He Will Act [click here]
In a statement, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said Modi received a call in the afternoon from Sharif. During the conversation, Modi “strongly emphasised the need for Pakistan to take firm and immediate action against the organizations and individuals responsible for and linked to the Pathankot terrorist attack”.
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The statement said “specific and actionable information in this regard has been provided to Pakistan”. Sharif “assured Prime Minister Modi that his government would take prompt and decisive action against the terrorists,” the PMO said.
It is learnt that information and leads, like the Pakistani numbers which the attackers had called and their intercepts, have been shared by National Security Advisor Ajit Doval with his Pakistani counterpart Lt Gen (retd) Naseer Khan Janjua when they spoke to each other Tuesday.
On Monday night, the Pakistan Foreign Ministry said it was working on “leads” provided by India on the attack. It also said that India and Pakistan should remain “committed” to the dialogue process. “Living in the same region and with a common history, the two countries should remain committed to a sustained dialogue process,” it said, adding, “the challenge of terrorism calls for strengthening our resolve to a cooperative approach”.
India is expected to send to Pakistan a letter rogatory (LR) along with DNA samples of the slain terrorists and their phone call details. The DNA test of the six terrorists will be conducted as early as possible so that Pakistani authorities can move on the case, official sources said.
The LR is a formal request from a court to a foreign court for some type of judicial assistance. The most common remedies sought by letters rogatory are service of process and taking of evidence.
Indian authorities believe that the Bahawalpur-based Jaish-e-Mohammad carried out the attack on Pathankot.
Speaking to reporters in Pathankot, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar admitted to “some gaps” that led to the attack. He said all six terrorists had been killed.
“There is no suspected terrorist inside right now… I will not give a negative report till the combing operations are over. The combing operations may be over by tomorrow,” he said in reply to questions.
“One of the terrorists still has a body vest where they (security forces) can see a grenade stuck… I am very very clear they should not take any risk. We have already lost one person to a booby trap, so no more losses,” he said.
He announced that all seven security personnel killed during the attack will be treated as martyrs. This will entitle their kin to all benefits available to “battle casualty”.
According to Parrikar, the terrorists were carrying 40-50 kg of bullets, mortars, modified under-barrel grenade launchers besides some magazines.
Responding to questions, he said “I see some gaps. But I do not think there is any compromise on security. Once the investigations are over, things will become clear,” he said, adding “every security detail cannot be discussed” and “keep something for investigation”.
Parrikar said he was worried how the terrorists managed to come inside the base which has a perimeter of 24 km and is spread over 2,000 acres.
Asked about the Pakistani connection, he said there are indications that some of the equipment used by the terrorists were made in Pakistan.
Parrikar said except the Garud commando, no one else was killed in direct operation. “Five Defence Security Corps personnel died because more of a bad luck. One of them, Jagdish Chandra, virtually grappled with the terrorist before killing him,” he said, hailing them as martyrs who made the supreme sacrifice.
(With PTI inputs)