India will give a befitting reply: Rajnath on attack

RSTV Bureau

Pathankot: People gather as a security person guards near the Indian Air Force base that was attacked by militants in Pathankot, Punjab on Saturday. PTI Photo

Even as the deadly gunbattle played out in Pathankot, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said that India will give a befitting reply whenever there is a terror attack on Indian soil.

“Pakistan is our neighbouring country. We want good relations with not just Pakistan but with all our neighbours. We also want peace but if there is any terror attack on India, we will give a befitting reply,” said Rajnath Singh.

Singh said that he was happy that the security forces – Army jawans, Paramilitary jawans and the Punjab police officers were all giving the terrorists a befitting reply.

“The country is proud of our security forces and our jawans,” he said.

In a pre-dawn attack, five heavily armed terrorists suspected to belong to Jaish-e-Mohammed outfit from Pakistan struck at an Air Force base in Pathankot. However, in the gunbattle that lasted for about 16 hours a commando and two other personnel of the IAF were killed along with all the five attackers. At least, six security men were also injured.

“We have credible information that this attack was sponsored by some elements across the border,” Minister of State for Home, Kiren Rijiju told reporters in Delhi.

Rajnath Singh’s comments have come just a week after Prime Minister Narendra Modi made an unscheduled visit to Lahore.

The Congress criticised PM Modi’s Pakistan visit and also questioned Centre’s policy on Pakistan.

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Pathankot: A chopper hovers over the Indian Air Force base that was attacked by militants in Pathankot, Punjab on Saturday. PTI Photo

“Will Prime Minister take up the issue with Pakistan, now that he has recently visited the country. How does the government propose to control and check the terror coming from Pakistan. These are important issues that the PM needs to address. Why is Punjab suddenly becoming a hotbed of such activities,” Congress leader Randeep Surjewala said.

Not just the Congress, BJP ally Shiv Sena also slammed the Centre.

“We don’t want to play politics but its a fact that bilateral peace talks and terror attacks are taking place simultaneously. This won’t do.”Shiv Sena spokesperson Sanjay Raut.

Chairman of the All India Anti-Terrorist Front, MS Bitta condemned the attack and called for suspension of Indo-Pak talks.

“It is a dastardly and a cowardly act. I am of the view that there should be no talks with Pakistan till the time cross-border terrorism is not stopped. India should forthwith stop dialogues with Pakistan, completely seal the borders and suspend the Lahore bus, train services, and other engagements,” Bitta said.

“In my opinon, Prime Minister Narendra Modi should not have visited Pakistan, even if it was not a formal visit. I feel ISI in Pakistan is stronger than the government there. Whenever any good initiative is taken from our side, they betray us,” he told PTI over phone.

Meanwhile Pakistan condemned the terror attack in Pathankot.

“Pakistan condemns the terrorist incident in Pathankot, India, today, in which many precious lives have been lost. We extend heartfelt condolences to the government and people of India and the bereaved families and wish the wounded speedy and full recovery,” said an official statement released by the Pakistan Foreign Office.

(With inputs from PTI)