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Pathankot attack raises serious concerns: Cong

Pathankot attack

New Delhi : The attack on Pathankot air base raises security concerns for Punjab as the state is witnessing a sudden surge in such activities after being peaceful for the last 20 years, Congress today said.

Further, with the incident coming on the heels of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent surprise visit to Pakistan to  eet Nawaz Sharif, the party wondered whether he would take up the matter with his counterpart in the neighbouring country even as the ruling BJP said that the aim was to “constantly do the best” to deal with the situation.

“Why have there been two terror attacks in Punjab, a state that has not seen any terror activities in over 20 years. Even the third attack in Udhampur (in J-K) was on the border of Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir,” Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said.

“The first (attack in Punjab) was in Dinanagar in Gurdaspur and now in Panthankot, where our frontline security installation is located,” he said.

The attacks raise questions about the government’s strategy for checking such incidents, he added.

“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,” Surjewala said.

Suspected Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorists from Pakistan today struck at an Air Force base in Pathankot in Punjab, killing two air personnel while four of the attackers were killed in an operation that lasted more than five hours.

The attack comes just a week after the Prime Minister made an unscheduled visit to Lahore, touching down in Pakistan for the first time, to meet Sharif.

BJP, meanwhile, said India will keep doing its best to deal with the situation.

“This is the obvious risk of terrorism that India has borne for a very long time. We are constantly going to do our best to deal with the situation and ensure that these forces are defeated,” BJP spokesperson Nalin Kohli said.

Meanwhile, the Congress asserted that it is with the government and the security forces in their fight against terrorism and said that the country got Pathankot attack from Pakistan in return of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s peace initiative.

“Its a matter of concern that the Prime Minister has just returned (from Pakistan) after extending a hand of friendship to Pakistan, but we got in return a terror attack,” former Union Minister and senior Congress leader Ashwini Kumar told reporters in Pathankot.

Kumar, who visited the spot where the attack took place, further said that this is the third attack in past six months and second in Punjab after the attack in Gurdaspur district of the state.

“Due to these attacks the morale of the terrorists have got a boost. We have to fight to finish the terrorism in the country,” he said.

However, he asked the BJP-led Central government to rethink its foreign policy and diplomatic initiatives.

“We should rethink our foreign policy and diplomatic initiatives the government is taking. We have to find and iron out shortcomings in our policy,” he said.

On the security apparatus, Kumar said, “If there was an IBO alert, how did this attack take place. Where is the failure in the coordination and these shortcomings should be addressed.”

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