India urges Pakistan to act after air force base attack

Indian Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar speaks to the media at the air force base in Pathankot on Jan 5, 2016.
Indian Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar speaks to the media at the air force base in Pathankot on Jan 5, 2016.PHOTO: AFP

New Delhi (AFP) - Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged his Pakistani counterpart Tuesday (Jan 5) to take "firm and immediate action" against those behind an attack on an Indian air force base that left seven soldiers dead.

Modi's office said New Delhi had given Islamabad "specific and actionable information" on the audacious attack, which came just days after a landmark visit to Pakistan by the Indian premier raised hopes of improved relations.

Security officials suspect the gunmen - five of whom were killed - belonged to the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed, the group that staged a 2001 attack on the Indian parliament which brought the two countries to the brink of war.

In a statement, Modi's office said Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had telephoned him to discuss the attack on the Pathankot base in the northern state of Punjab near the border with Pakistan.

Modi "strongly emphasised the need for Pakistan to take firm and immediate action against the organisations and individuals responsible for and linked to the Pathankot terrorist attack," said the statement.

"Specific and actionable information in this regard has been provided to Pakistan." It said Sharif had given assurances that his government would take "prompt and decisive action".

The dawn raid on the base triggered a 14-hour gunbattle on Saturday (Jan 2), with fighting continuing Sunday (Jan 3).

The attack was claimed Monday (Jan 4) by the United Jihad Council, an umbrella group for militant outfits fighting in Indian-controlled Kashmir.