PM Narendra Modi to visit Pathankot Air base on Saturday; NSA lauds Punjab Police role

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit Pathankot air base, which was recently hit by a major terrorist attack carried out by the Pakistan-based terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), officials said on Friday.

PM Narendra Modi to visit Pathankot Air base on Saturday; NSA lauds Punjab Police role

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit Pathankot air base, which was recently hit by a major terrorist attack carried out by the Pakistan-based terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), officials said on Friday.

According to media reports, PM is likely to reach Pathankot at around 11:00 am tomorrow.

During his visit, which comes exactly one week after the pre-dawn attack on the frontline air base by the terrorists, Modi is likely to meet Indian Air Force (IAF) personnel at the base along with other troops in the area.

Police sources in Chandigarh said that tight security arrangements were being made for the prime minister's visit.

National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval called up Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal on Friday and lauded the prompt role of the Punjab Police in providing timely inputs regarding the terrorist attack.

"The NSA lauded the most effective and commendable Punjab response to a most difficult challenge thrown at the country by terrorists at Pathankot," a Punjab government spokesman, quoting Doval's conversation with Badal, said here.

Sources said that Doval appreciated the response of the Punjab government, especially of the Punjab Police, "whose prompt inputs and zero-time coordination with the central forces" had helped in making counter arrangements and save critical assets of the air base, including fighter aircraft and attack helicopters.

The visit holds significance in the midst speculations that the Foreign Secretary-level talks between India and Pakistan could be called off by New Delhi in the wake of the attack.

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Thursday put the ball in Pakistan's court, saying the future course of action would be decided after Islamabad's response to actionable intelligence provided with regard to the fidayeen strike.

"As far as we are concerned, the ball is now in Pakistan's court. The immediate issue in front of us is Pakistan's response to the terrorist attack and the actionable intelligence that has been provided to it," said MEA official spokesperson Vikas Swarup, adding that the government's policy towards Pakistan is clear and consistent

Meanwhile, in the course of investigation, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) has found several articles on the bodies of the terrorists and from the crime scene that further confirm their Pakistan link.

The investigation agencies have reportedly found wrappers and packets of medicines and syringes bearing name of Karachi and Pakistan from a building at the Pathankot Air base, where terrorists had taken shelter during the attack.

Gurdaspur Superintendent of Police Salwinder Singh has been summoned to the NIA headquarters on Monday for questioning. Singh and his jeweller friend Rajesh Verma said to have been abducted by the terrorists on the night of December 31.

An NIA team visited the house of Verma.

Almost entire International Community has unequivocally condemned the terrorist attack, hoping that the perpetrators would be brought to the book.

Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, in the meantime, on Friday reviewed the progress made on the information provided by the Government of India in connection with the Pathankot terror attack.

Prime Minister Sharif, who chaired a high-level meeting here, reiterated Pakistan's commitment to cooperate with India on the Pathankot incident and to be in touch with the Government of India in this regard.

The meeting was attended by Army Chief General Raheel Sharif, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, Adviser to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz, National Security Advisor Naseer Khan Janjua, DG ISI, Foreign Secretary and DG Military Operations among others, reported Radio Pakistan.

(With Agency inputs)