New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi was on Saturday briefed by senior defence and security officers about the terrorist attack carried out by suspected Pakistani terrorists last week on the Pathankot IAF base.
Modi spent about 90 minutes at the air base during which he was briefed about the attack and security measures put in place at the facility in its wake. Air Force chief Air Marshal Arup Raha and National Security Guard officials briefed the Prime Minister about the attack and the counteroffensive launched against the perpetrators with the help of of maps, aerial pictures and operational photographs, defence sources said.
"Visited Pathankot air base today. Had a detailed briefing from senior leadership of Army, Air Force, NSG & BSF," PM Modi tweeted after his visit at the air base.
Modi reached Pathankot to take stock of the situation at the Indian Air Force base, seven days after it was attacked by terrorists on the night of January 2.
"Noted with satisfaction the decision-making & its execution, the considerations that went into our tactical response," the PM added.
The visit comes a day after security forces declared the air base sanitised after massive combing operations that spread over three days. During his visit, the Prime Minister is also likely to undertake an aerial survey of the Indo-Pak border areas, official sources said.
"Also noted coordination among various field units. Lauded bravery & determination of our men & women on the ground. They are our pride," the PMO said in another tweet.
Modi also went around the scene of the audacious attack that exposed the chinks in the armour of the Indian security establishment and was shown the huge cache of weapons and ammunition recovered from the six slain perpetrators.
The Prime Minister was taken around the Military Engineering Service Yard where the terrorists were first engaged by the security forces and the two-storey billet for airmen's accomodation where the last two terrorists were killed after the structure was blown up by the security forces, before undertaking an aerial survey of the forward positions along the Indo-Pakistan border.
Tight security arrangements were in place for the prime minister's visit. No one was allowed to enter the area near the Air Force Station (AFS), located 250 km from Chandigarh.
Defence minister Manohar Parrikar also visited the strategic facility on January 5. During his visit, Parrikar had admitted to "some gaps" that led to the attack. The perpetrators were believed to have infiltrated the Indian territory from a spot near Bamiyal village in Pathankot located close to the international border.
PM Modi's visit holds significance as it comes in the midst of speculations that the Foreign Secretary-level talks between India and Pakistan could be called off by New Delhi in the wake of the attack.
Modi is likely to fly to the border belt with Pakistan in Punjab in an IAF helicopter for a first-hand account of the security measures at the border.
The Government of India has put the ball in Pakistan's court, saying the future course of action would be decided after Islamabad's response to the actionable intelligence provided with regard to the fidayeen strike. Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had called up PM Modi and promised action against the perpetrators of the brazen attack.
Seven security personnel were killed in the attack early on January 2 on the Pathankot Indian Air Force station by six terrorists who are believed ti have crossed over from Pakistan. All the six terrorists were killed by security forces later.