News / Asia

    Ten Dead After Gunmen Attack Indian Air Force Base

    An Indian armored vehicle moves near an Indian air force base in Pathankot, 430 kilometers (267 miles) north of New Delhi, India, Jan. 2, 2016. Gunmen attacked the air force base near the border with Pakistan early Saturday.
    An Indian armored vehicle moves near an Indian air force base in Pathankot, 430 kilometers (267 miles) north of New Delhi, India, Jan. 2, 2016. Gunmen attacked the air force base near the border with Pakistan early Saturday.
    Anjana Pasricha

    Ten people were killed at an air force base in India's northern Punjab state in a terror attack that is being seen as an effort to derail recent peace efforts between India and Pakistan.

    Officials said four gunmen and six security personnel were killed when gunmen dressed in army uniforms mounted an attack early Saturday at the air base in Pathankot town, about 50 kilometers from India’s border with Pakistan and about 430 kilometers north of New Delhi.

    Gunbattle

    Indian forces backed by tanks and helicopters regained control of the compound after a 15-hour battle.

    The attackers used an Indian police officer's car, which was apparently hijacked the previous evening, to infiltrate the air force facility.

    Additional forces were rushed in, elite commandos searched the base, and helicopters made a reconnaissance of the town amid concern that some of the attackers may have escaped. Sporadic gunfire could be heard through the afternoon.

    An Indian air force chopper on a reconnaissance mission flies over the Indian airbase in Pathankot, 430 kilometers (267 miles) north of New Delhi, India, Jan. 2, 2016.
    An Indian air force chopper on a reconnaissance mission flies over the Indian airbase in Pathankot, 430 kilometers (267 miles) north of New Delhi, India, Jan. 2, 2016.

    Security has been stepped up at defense bases and other areas in the country.

    Officials said they are still trying to identify the attackers. However, some Indian security officials say they believe the attackers are members of Jaish-e-Mohammed (The Army of Mohammed), a militant group based in Pakistan that wants independence for Indian-ruled Kashmir.  

    Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh said in carefully worded televised remarks: "Pakistan is our neighbor and we want peace, not just with Pakistan but with all our neighboring nations. We also want peace, but if terrorists carry out attacks on Indian soil we will give them a befitting reply."

    “Whoever is finally identified, it will be the same Pakistan-based terror formations and these have long experience of attacking military and police establishments," said Ajay Sahni, the head of the Institute for Conflict Management in New Delhi.

    Last year, at least seven people, including police officers, were killed in an attack on a border town in Punjab. India said the gunmen involved in that incident were militants who had infiltrated from Pakistan.

    Modi, Sharif meet

    The latest attack comes just a week after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a historic, unannounced visit to Pakistan to meet Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif -- the first such visit by an Indian prime minister in more than a decade.

    The visit was seen as an effort to revive a flagging peace process.

    India accuses Pakistan of arming and training insurgents fighting for Kashmir's independence from India and its merger with Pakistan.  Islamabad denies the charge.

    Analysts and officials say peace moves by the political leadership of the two countries in the past have often been followed by an escalation in terror strikes.

    Pathankot, India
    Pathankot, India

    Nalin Kohli, a spokesman for the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, suggested India will persevere with peace efforts.

    “Every time there is a movement toward normalization of relationship with Pakistan, these things automatically happen, because these are forces that don’t want peace between India and Pakistan and also in the region," Kohli said. "However, as far as India is concerned, we are constantly going to do our best to deal with that situation and ensure that these forces are defeated.”

    It is the second terror strike in Punjab in the past six months – in July, gunmen stormed a police station close to the border town of Gurdaspur, killing at least seven people, including police officers.  India blamed that attack on militants who had infiltrated from Pakistan.

    Punjab, along with the disputed region of Kashmir, shares a border with Pakistan.

    You May Like

    US-Russia Tensions Complicate Syria War

    With a shared enemy and opposing allies, Russia and the US are working to avoid confrontation

    Video Re-opening Old Wounds in Beirut's Bullet-riddled Yellow House

    Built in neo-Ottoman style in 1920s, it is set to be re-opened in Sept. as ‘memory museum’ - bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity

    Cambodian-Americans Lobby for Human Rights Resolution

    Resolution condemns all forms of political violence in Cambodia, urges Cambodian government to end human rights violations, calls for respect of press freedom

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: sami shahid from: Pakistan
    January 03, 2016 2:29 PM
    Now when India and Pakistan are just about to start a negotiation process....Indian intel has gone crazy and is trying its best to sabotage the peace process...
    Shame on the Indian military ! Seems like Indian nuclear's are not in the safe hands....

    by: Indian from: USA
    January 02, 2016 6:14 PM
    Shame on Pakistan.. Not able to control ISI and these notorious terrorist organizations.. India should beef up the security.. if armed base is not safe what else?

    by: Ravi from: Hyderabad
    January 02, 2016 3:51 PM
    As the other person said, these are not 'gunmen'. They are terrorists. The word 'Gunmen' is reserved for a white terrorist in the US. Here these are Pakistani (not white) people creating terror in an otherwise peaceful region of Punjab. People of this region have shed lives for the benefit of others both out of the love for their country (India) and their masters around the globe (starting from the atrocities of the British regime in 1857 and to the World Wars I and II).

    by: Nagina Arshad
    January 02, 2016 3:30 PM
    How long it takes to review

    by: Mazo from: India
    January 02, 2016 9:57 AM
    What do you mean "gunmen" ? Why don't you have the courage to call them what they are - TERRORISTS ?
    In Response

    by: Ankur
    January 02, 2016 7:08 PM
    When would media start to use same standards for terrorists irrespective of their sponsors?
    In Response

    by: Rudy
    January 02, 2016 4:55 PM
    Mazo is right
    In Response

    by: Dr Munendar Kumar Sharma from: India
    January 02, 2016 1:43 PM
    it took 9/11 to occur before US understood the danger, till that time even OSAMA was trained by US. it will hurt back to US to call just gunman to terrorists.specially pakistani Terrorists

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora