ISLAMABAD: As Indian forces worked for a fourth day to secure an air force base raided by militants, the government faced growing questions about its response to the Pathankot attack, which left at least seven troops dead and 20 wounded, reported a US newspaper.
The US-based Loss Angles Time in its report said, “Why the operation to clear the Pathankot Air Force station of a handful of heavily armed assailants was taking so long. Officials said six militants were killed in the incident.”
No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, which began Saturday, the newspaper said. Indian Defense Minister, Manohar Parrikar said, “combing operations” to clear the base were continuing and could last into Wednesday.
He voiced the question on the minds of many Indians when he said later: “My worry was how they (terrorists) managed to come inside the base. I see some gaps in the operations,” Parrikar said. Praveen Swami, a veteran national security correspondent at the Indian Express newspaper, said in an interview that the operation pointed to “poor training of security personnel.”
Defense officials said that the militants were found with more than 100 pounds of bullets, grenades and other weapons, raising questions about how they managed to scale the base’s perimeter walls. “It tells you something was badly wrong,” Swami said.