Sunday, 10 January, 2016

Gun battle at Indian air force base enters 3rd day

Gun battle at Indian air force base enters 3rd day
Dillon Hess | 07 January, 2016, 21:12

Extending Pakistan's deepest condolences to the government and people of India on the "unfortunate terrorist incident" in Pathankot, a statement by the spokesperson of the ministry of foreign affairs said: "In line with Pakistan's commitment to effectively counter and eradicate terrorism, the Government is in touch with the Indian government and is working on the leads provided by it".

Officials, however, said the chances of more terrorists hiding around the air base can not be denied, and combing operations will continue.

The official also told that they will continue the operation till the area is rendered safely.

The battle began early Saturday after armed men scaled the compound wall and entered the base.

Army and para-military forces continued to surround the entire air force base which is spread in a huge area. "Nobody knows who is really in charge", said Rahul Bedi, an analyst for Jane's Information Group.

The Sena also said that had the Congress been in power today, there would have been demands to strike at Pakistan and avenge the deaths of soldiers, but now nothing is being done about the Pathankot attack in Punjab last Saturday in which seven security personnel were killed. "It's a major goof-up for everybody". Officials said the firing was linked to the mopping operation. It is understood that the huddle would also discuss the situation in the Middle East where Pakistan is sticking to its strategy on staying away from the conflict as Pakistan wouldn't side with any of the countries.

The Himalayan region of Kashmir is divided between India and Pakistan but is claimed in its entirety by both. New Delhi accuses Islamabad of supporting the insurgency in Indian-controlled Kashmir. "But this is - as we've said before, this is an issue that - as are so many issues between India, Pakistan and we want to see them work out bilaterally", Kirby said.

The violence follows Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's surprise December 25 visit to Pakistan, where he met his Pakistani counterpart, Nawaz Sharif - a trip that marked a significant thaw in the mostly tense relations between the nuclear-armed neighbors. To a query, the sources reminded that the assumption of deferment of the foreign secretaries' talks would be out of place since the two capitals haven't agreed for the meeting for any specific date.

Reports suggest that National Security Adviser (NSA) Ajit Doval had provided to Pakistani authorities the details like the call intercepts.

India has maintained that if Pakistan fails to act against the perpetrators, there will be no further talks between the two countries. "And we've been clear with the highest levels of the Government of Pakistan that it must continue to target all militant groups, and the Government of Pakistan has said publicly and privately that it's not going to discriminate among terrorist groups as part of its counterterrorism operations", U.S. state department Spokesman John Kirby told media.