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Operation to fully sanitise Pathankot Air base in last leg

PTI 07 Jan 2016, 21:49:16 IST

Pathankot: The operation to fully sanitise the Pathankot Air base, which was attacked by six terrorists last Saturday, is "close to completion" with the personnel of NSG, Army and Garud commandos of IAF undertaking the task on the sprawling complex.

Meanwhile, the NIA has recorded the statements of Superintendent of Police (SP) Salwinder Singh, whose role is under the scanner, and his friend Rajesh Verma, officials said adding investigations are under progress.  

The 20-member NIA team is being assisted by a team of Central Forensic Science Laboratory which is camping here.  

The sanitisation operation, which has been going on for the last two days ever since the six terrorists were gunned down, is in the last leg now.

"For the last two days, Army, NSG and Garuds have been sanitising the whole station and the process is close to completion," Air Officer Commanding, Pathankot IAF Station, Air commodore J S Damoon told reporters here today.

The combing operation is aimed at ensuring that no terrorists are still hiding and there are no booby traps.

Looking back at the events of the last six days, he said, "a few things stand out".

Read Also: Act against Pathankot perpetrators first, talks later: India tells Pakistan

Among them, he said, is the use of air assets for surveillance to ensure early detection isolation and subsequent engagement of the terrorists.  

"First, the timely and precise intelligence inputs and positioning of NSG troops in real quick time in domestic area, where our families reside which is akin to urban environment, ensured that the station was able to organize its defenses before the terrorists could strike," said the officer who is in-charge of the Air base.

"Secondly, the synergy between air force, Indian army, NSG, Punjab police and intelligence agencies", he said.

"Third, was the effective use of Air assets that was made possible by the deployment of 800 army troops in technical area, these air assets were used to keep the area under surveillance to ensure early detection isolation and subsequent engagement of our own troops," Damoon said.

AOC said the quick response of Army and availability of NSG troops along with Garuds ensured that the terrorists were confined to an area where they could successfully be eliminated without further loss of to troops.  

"All this ensured that our vital assets and families were never threatened. In the end, I pay tributes to seven gallant officers and men who made supreme sacrificed for our motherland," Damoon said.

The terrorists were carrying AK-47 rifles, modified Under Grenade Barrel Launcher, pistols, Swiss and commando knives, 40-50 kg of bullets besides 3-4 dozens of magazine and mortars.