Pakistan team visits attack site in India

Members of a Pakistani security team accompanied by Indian officials in a bus on their way to the scene of the Jan 2 militant attack at the Indian Air Force base in Pathankot, India, on Tuesday.
Members of a Pakistani security team accompanied by Indian officials in a bus on their way to the scene of the Jan 2 militant attack at the Indian Air Force base in Pathankot, India, on Tuesday.PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

NEW DELHI • In a rare show of co- operation, the Indian government on Tuesday permitted a team of Pakistani security officials to examine the scene of a militant attack at an airbase in India that claimed the lives of six terrorists and seven In- dian soldiers in January.

The five-member security team, including military, police and intelligence officials, arrived in New Delhi on Sunday and met on Monday with the National Investigation Agency (NIA), which is handling the Indian investigation of the attack.

"During the interaction, NIA officers gave a detailed presentation on the evidence collected during the course of the investigation," said Mr Sanjeev Kumar Singh, the inspector-general of the agency, in a news briefing.

At least six militants infiltrated the Pathankot airbase in the Indian state of Punjab on Jan 2. They engaged in a days-long gun battle with Indian security forces before they were killed. It took place just a week after Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India flew to Lahore for a meeting with his Pakistani counterpart, Mr Nawaz Sharif. After the attack, India cancelled a proposed visit of its foreign secretary to Pakistan to resume much-delayed talks.

The Pakistani authorities subsequently arrested several members of the banned militant group Jaish- e-Mohammad in connection with the attack, a move that India welcomed. After the arrests, Indian officials said the talks would be rescheduled "in the very near future".

Protests erupted in Pathankot on Tuesday as members of the opposition Congress party and the Aam Aadmi Party shouted slogans asking the team to "go back", and shouting "Down with Pakistan".

The visit comes as civilian and military leaders in Pakistan accused India on Tuesday of sponsoring and orchestrating terrorism and separatist movements. Pakistani officials say they arrested Kulbhushan Yadav, an officer in the Indian navy, this month in Balochistan in south-western Pakistan.

Officials in Pakistan have accused India of fanning separatist sentiment there.

Pakistan's information minister Pervaiz Rasheed and military spokesman Lieutenant-General Asim Saleem Bajwa released a six- minute video of Yadav at a news conference in Islamabad. In the video, Yadav said he is a naval officer and he was enlisted in 2013 to join RAW, the Indian intelligence agency.

Since then, he said, he had been involved in activities meant to destabilise Pakistan. India has denied that he is an intelligence operative.

NEW YORK TIMES

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 31, 2016, with the headline 'Pakistan team visits attack site in India'. Print Edition | Subscribe