Soldiers Get ‘Battle Casualty Status’: Parrikar


New Delhi: Lauding the valour efforts of the security forces for defending the Pathankot air base from the ulterior motive of the fidayeen, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Tuesday said six terrorists have been neutralised so far in the combing operation, which is still on for safety purpose and soldiers get battle casualty status.

Congratulating the defence forces for containing the ‘highly motivated’ terrorists, who were on a suicide mission, Parrikar emphasised that no strategic asset was compromised during the combing operation.

“I have practically visited all the spots where the gun battle took place. I want to thank and congratulate the NSG, armed forces, Garud unit of Air Force and Defence Security Corps. They have done an excellent job of containing these highly motivated terrorists on a suicide mission within practically 250 metre-area,” Parrikar told the media.

“It’s a highly commendable job as the area has many blind spots,” he added. The Defence Minister, who assessed the ground situation at Pathankot along with Army Chief General Dalbir Singh and Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshall Arup Raha, said the combing operation that is presently on might end tomorrow.

“In this operation, six terrorists have been neutralised. Two bodies that have been recovered today were in a very bad condition and their confirmation would be done after the DNA tests. The combing operation is still going on. And this combing operation is only for safety purpose,” he said.

Parrikar informed that 40-50 kg bullets have been found from the terrorists and the material that has been recovered so far indicates that some of it was made in Pakistan. “One terrorist still has body vest with a grenade, I’ve ordered it be destroyed where he’s lying, we’ve lost one life due to booby trap,” he said.

The Defence Minister further said it was a matter of concern as to find out how the terrorists managed to enter India. Meanwhile, the NIA has said that it expects cooperation from Pakistan for tracing the perpetrators of the Pathankot attack.

The NIA team today reached the Indian Air Force base in Pathankot to begin its investigation of the three cases lodged in connection with the ongoing terror attack. The NIA had registered three cases at local police stations in Punjab yesterday to probe the ‘conspiracy’ angle behind the attack.

The Foreign Secretary-level talks between India and Pakistan scheduled for January 14-15 in Islamabad looks in jeopardy in the wake of the Pathankot attack.