MUMBAI — Pakistani investigators were in India on Tuesday to help probe a terror attack on an air force base three months ago. And many Indians are angry.
The visit is unprecedented in the region where India has repeatedly blamed Islamabad of harboring and training Islamist groups that have launched cross-border terror attacks.
Seven Indian military personnel died in the gunbattle at the air base in the northern city of Pathankot in January. India blamed the Pakistani group Jaish-e-Mohammad for training and sending the five men to mount the attack.
India has consistently denied access to Pakistani investigators to visit the sites of past attacks.
But since Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Pakistan to meet his counterpart, Nawaz Sharif, in December, there is talk of an emerging bonhomie between the two nuclear-armed neighbors and a new era of joint investigation and collaboration on terrorism.
After a detailed briefing in New Delhi by Indian investigators, the Pakistani team will be taken to Pathankot amid tight security vigil. The five-member team will also be shown the riverside route the gunmen allegedly took to enter India from Pakistan.
The exercise is aimed at providing evidence so that Pakistan can prosecute potential suspects, said Sanjeev Kumar, the head of India’s National Investigation Agency.
The visiting team will interact with non-military witnesses, but officials said they will not be allowed into the ‘‘strategic locations’’ inside the airbase.
Many Indians, however, find the cooperation unsettling -- especially because Modi’s party came to power in 2014 with a lot of tough talk about rival Pakistan. His colleagues routinely talked about teaching Pakistan a lesson when terror attacks occur in India.
Posters saying ‘‘Pakistan go back’’ sprung up in New Delhi on Monday.
‘‘The prime minister should tell the nation why he is kneeling before Pakistan,’’ said Delhi’s chief minister Arvind Kejriwal.