Punjab attackers came from Pakistan: Indian government

New Delhi, July 30

Gunmen who stormed a police station and killed seven people in India’s Punjab came from Pakistan, the Indian government said today, but gave no indication that a plan for bilateral high level security talks had been jeopardised by the attack.

Citing a preliminary analysis of data from GPS tracking devices carried by the gunmen, Home Minister Rajnath Singh told Parliament the three men crossed over via a river that criss-crosses between Pakistan and India.

In a statement shorn of the nationalist rhetoric the ruling party is known for, Singh warned of a forceful response to any attempt to undermine India’s security but did not specify what action was being taken after Monday’s attack.

There was no immediate response from Pakistan.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his counterpart Nawaz Sharif agreed on July 10 the two countries’ National Security Advisers (NSAs) should meet in New Delhi to discuss “all issues connected to terrorism”, signalling a thaw in ties after Modi called off peace talks almost a year ago. No date was set. By calling the meeting a discussion on terrorism rather than peace talks, Modi may have partly insulated himself from the inevitable pressure to cancel after every cross-border raid.

Singh said in the past month alone there had been five attempts by Pakistan-based militant groups to cross the border in the state of Jammu and Kashmir.

Monday’s attack surprised security forces because it was further south in previously peaceful Punjab where the border fence is less heavily guarded.

Analysis of GPS data indicates the men crossed the Ravi river, which is swollen by heavy rains that could have made it harder for security patrols to detect the group.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who is also the government’s main spokesman, said the evidence the group came from across the border was “overwhelmingly conclusive”.

He said a decision on the NSA talks was part of “a diplomatic strategy” and would be taken by the government and the foreign ministry.