Modi visits Pathankot base, gets briefing on attack

Modi visits Pathankot base, gets briefing on attack

Prime minister Narendra Modi on Saturday visited the Indian Air Force station in Pathankot to receive an on-the-spot briefing about the terror attack and how the security forces killed six perpetrators after three days of gun battle.

“I had a detailed briefing and noted with satisfaction the decision-making and its execution and the considerations that went into our tactical response. I was briefed in great detail on how our forces neutralised such a serious terrorist attack,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted after visiting the airbase.

While the security agencies gunned down six ultras, as many as seven Indian soldiers including a NSG officer lost their lives. Close to 20 personnel were injured too in the terror strike on the Indian military installation.

Modi was accompanied by the National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, Army Chief Gen Dalbir Singh Suhag, IAF chief Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha and heads of Border Security Force and National Security Guards.

 A senior IAF officer from the Garud commando team briefed Modi.
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 accommodation where the last two terrorists were killed after the structure was blown up by the security forces.

Criticism
The prime minister's comments assume significance as it comes in the wake of sharp criticism within a section of the security establishment that came down heavily on the government for its handling of the Pathankot incident.

The government's decision to rely more on the NSG and Garud commandos, relegating the Army to a secondary role, was widely criticised by military officers, who argued that using Army would have been far effective as infantry troops have wide experience in tackling terrorists in a large area – the base is spread over 1900 acres of area - because of their years of experience in Jammu and Kashmir.

There were two infantry divisions in Pathankot with 15,000 soldiers each, in addition to two armoured brigades. Also there were several Army Special Force (Paras) units in the vicinity in addition to many other Army formations in Punjab and Jammu region.

Yet only a small group of Army troops were roped in the operation in the first day.

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