India is weighing its options after the deadly attack on an army base in Uri in Kashmir blamed on a Pakistan-based terror outfit, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi today chaired a high-level meeting amid strident calls for military action on terror camps in PoK.
The death toll in the pre-dawn attack yesterday, meanwhile, rose to 18 with Sepoy K Vikas Janardhan, who was airlifted to the Army Research and Referral Hospital here after being critically injured, succumbing to injuries.
As the worst ever attack on the Army in many years continued to spark outrage and triggered calls for Pakistan's diplomatic isolation, Union Information and Broadcasting minister M Venkaiah Naidu said India will have to respond and punish the perpetrators of the attack and "can no more take it lying down".
Key BJP ally Shiv Sena while needling Modi on the Uri attack said if he does not have the "courage to strike Pakistan" like the US did to eliminate Osama Bin Laden, there is no use of building an international image.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, Army Chief General Dalbir Singh Suhag besides other senior officials attended the meeting convened by Modi.
The top security brass briefed the Prime Minister on the prevailing ground situation in Kashmir Valley in the wake of the terror attack, official sources said.
The Defence Minister and the Army Chief had visited Kashmir after the attack yesterday.
"We strongly condemn the cowardly terror attack in Uri. I assure the nation that those behind this despicable attack will not go unpunished," Modi had said.
The assertion by Modi triggered considerable speculation about the options that India could exercise in the current situation.
A swift, surgical strike on terror camps in Pakistan- occupied Kashmir(PoK) was among the options that figured in the speculation but experts also cautioned against consequences and the damages that an escalation could pose if it goes out of hand.
Separately, Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and the top security brass met to review the security situation in Jammu and Kashmir, particularly in the border areas.
Doval, Gen Suhag and top officials of the ministries of Home and Defence, paramilitary forces and chiefs of intelligence agencies briefedthe meeting on the latest situation in Kashmir Valley as well as along the Line of Control(LoC) official sources said.
Possible strategies to deal with the fresh challenges arising out of the terror attack at the Army Brigade Headquarters, located along the LoC, was also discussed at the meeting, the sources said.
A team of National Investigation Agency is also expected to visit Uri to gather leads and other evidence from the attack site close to the Line of Control(LoC).
DGMO Lt Gen Ranbir Singh yesterday said all the four killed militants were foreign terrorists and had carried with them items which had Pakistani markings and that initial reports indicated that they belonged to Jaish-E-Mohammed(JeM) tanzeem.
Meanwhile, police said tonight that six CPI(M) workers had been taken into custody for questioning.
"Six CPI(M) workers have been taken into custody and they are being questioned", Kannur district police sources told