Close on the heels of Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar's remark on the Pathankot attack warning of a payback, Indian Army Chief General Dalbir Singh told the media on Wednesday that the army was ready to take up any challenge.
In a press conference Singh said, "The army is ready to carry out any task."
However, he chose to remain mum on Parrikar's comments saying, "It is not in my domain to comment on remarks made by an individual or on government policy".
The Army chief speaking about the Pathankot attack said, "The NIA is still working on how and why it happened. Not two columns but eight columns of about 70 people each were there in Pathankot, the media report was wrong."
"We eliminated four terrorists on the first day, but firing began again from the building where our unarmed men were, their safety was important," he said.
"I can assure that there was no issue of coordination between the forces at Pathankot," ANI quoted Singh as saying.
"Terrorists keep exploring possibilities. They attempt at one place, we strengthen the area," he said, adding, "The goal of suicide bombing is always to inflict maximum damage and cause maximum media hype as possible."
Earlier Parrikar had said, "history tells us that until those who inflict damage on others experience the same pain, they don't change."
"I am of the opinion, it should not be taken as a government thinking, I always believe that if anyone harms you, he understands the same language," he had said.
"How, when and place (where) should be of your choice but if someone is harming this country, then, that particular individual or organisation, I purposely used the words individual and organisation, should also receive the pain of such activities," he said at a seminar organised by the Army in New Delhi.
Meanwhile, the Army chief also gave more details of the operation and said that the crisis management committee, under National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, met before the Pathankot attack and he had alerted commanders in Northern and Western sectors.
He defended the plan to send in NSG, saying "NSG is the best force to deal with hostage situation" and that it "was a good decision".
His comments came amid questions raised by experts as to why there was multiple change in command and why the NSG, a paramilitary force under the Home Ministry, led the operation.
"As far as the Army is concerned, it was not under anybody's command. It was under the Western Army Commander who was monitoring and controlling the operations on my behalf," Suhag said.
Suhag said the siege of a building near the Indian consulate in Afghanistan's Mazar-i-Sharif was not connected to the Pathankot attack but added that only a thorough probe would give details.
With agency inputs