New Delhi – Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi praised the country’s security forces on a visit to Pathankot air force base Saturday, one week after a militant attack left seven soldiers dead.
The premier flew to the base in northern Punjab state to conduct an aerial survey of the area near the Pakistan border, following the strike by gunmen whom officials suspect belonged to the banned Pakistan-based group Jaish-e-Mohammed.
It follows criticism from the Congress opposition of what it called a “grave security lapse” that allowed heavily armed militants to infiltrate the strategically important base, triggering two days of gun battles.
“Noted with satisfaction the decision-making & its execution, the considerations that went into our tactical response,” Modi posted on Twitter after the visit, which included a briefing by top army and air force officials.
“Also noted coordination among various field units. Lauded bravery & determination of our men & women on the ground. They are our pride,” he tweeted.
Security forces on Friday said they had finally sanitised the sprawling installation after a lengthy search operation, the Press Trust of India reported.
Modi called on Pakistan earlier in the week to take action against those behind the attack, in which six militants also died.
The PM’s office said Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had given assurances that his government would take “prompt and decisive action”.
The attack on Pathankot came just days after a landmark visit to Pakistan by the Indian premier raised hopes of improved relations between the nuclear-armed arch rivals.
Jaish-e-Mohammed staged a 2001 attack on the Indian parliament which brought the two countries to the brink of war.
The Pathankot attack coincided with a 25-hour siege near an Indian consulate in Afghanistan that left at least one policeman dead and 11 others wounded.