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Indian families grieve after soldiers' deaths

Sunday, January 03, 2016 - 01:38

Family members of Indian soldiers killed in a battle to secure an air base near the border with Pakistan mourn their loss. Natasha Howitt reports.

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As the battle to quell a militant attack on an Indian air force base continues near the border with Pakistan, families of those killed have gathered. At least seven military personnel have been killed and 20 wounded in the pre-dawn assault which began on Saturday. Lieutenant Colonel Niranjan was among them, killed while defusing a grenade on the body of a dead militant. Though grieving, his sister said his family was proud. (SOUNDBITE) (English) SISTER OF DECEASED LIEUTENANT COLONEL NIRANJAN, A MEMBER OF NATIONAL SECURITY GUARD'S BOMB DISPOSAL SQUAD, BHAGYALAKSHMI, SAYING: "On one hand I have lost him, but on the other hand I know he has made us feel proud. But then whatever it is, our loss is a great loss because I feel these people, every year they are losing their lives. They are going to defuse a bomb and you do not know what's going to happen. I mean what risk they are taking." Five of the dead soldiers were veterans and no longer in active service. Their families were in shock. (SOUNDBITE) (Hindi) FATHER OF DECEASED GARUD COMMANDO, GURSEVAK SINGH, SAYING: "So many soldiers of our country from army and air force are losing their lives every day. I am sad but my son lost his life for his country." Four militants have been confirmed killed, but it was still unclear late on Sunday whether two or more are still at large. The attack comes a week after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Pakistan in an effort to revive bilateral talks. But such efforts are fragile. Pakistan has condemned the attack, but Indian officials say it resembles previous assaults by Pakistan-based militant groups. There has been no immediate claim of responsibility.

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Indian families grieve after soldiers' deaths

Sunday, January 03, 2016 - 01:38