Pathankot attackers non-state actors with state support: Parrikar

New Delhi, March 1 (IANS) Non-state actors from Pakistan were involved in the Pathankot terror attack but they cannot function smoothly without support from the state, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said on Tuesday in the Rajya Sabha.

Replying to supplementary questions in the upper house, the minister was asked by Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut whether the Pathankot attack was carried out only by terrorists or they had the support of the Pakistan Army.

“Does the government believe it was just a terror attack or done with the help of Pakistan Army?” Raut asked.

Parrikar, in reply, said: “All details will come out in NIA investigation. In this, non-state actors from Pakistan are certainly involved, that is sure… And any non-state (actor), they can’t function smoothly without state support.”

Asked by a member whether important bases like Pathankot should be shifted far from the border areas, the minister said: “There are bases strategically located within the country. Pathankot is equally important because it is closer to border and there is lot of investment which has been carried out in Pathankot. It will be costly to shift Pathankot.”

He also informed the house that intelligence on the possibility of an attack on the air base was received in advance.

“We have now done security audit in addition to normal security. We are in process of ensuring all installations are properly secured,” the minister said.

The January 2 terrorist attack on the Indian Air Force base at Pathankot in Punjab had left seven security personnel dead. Six terrorists, who attacked the base, were killed in a gun battle which lasted almost three days.

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