NEW DELHI -  India's top counter-terrorism agency Monday charged Jaish-i-Mohammed (JeM) and its leader Masood Azhar with perpetrating a deadly attack on the Pathankot air force base in January this year.

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) alleged that all four gunmen who stormed the airbase on Jan 2 were "Pakistani nationals" and that Jaish-e-Mohammed, founded by Azhar, who was released from an Indian prison in exchange for passengers of a hijacked Indian Airlines plane in 1999 was the mastermind behind the attack.

"All the terrorists are accused of waging war against India. This was a criminal conspiracy to attack our security infrastructure," said a senior official at the NIA in New Delhi.

The presentation of a charge-sheet to a trial court wraps up India's investigation into the 18-hour siege at the Pathankot airbase in which seven Indian security personnel and the four assailants were killed.

The attack, which came a week after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid a 'surprise' visit to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on the occasion of his granddaughter's wedding in Lahore last year, derailed a tentative thaw between the nuclear-armed rivals.

NIA investigators said Asghar had posted a video message claiming responsibility for the Pathankot attack. The NIA said the attackers stole a taxi after crossing into India, killing the driver, before hijacking a police officer's car to reach the air base. It said four Pakistani militants had been killed in the January 2 attack. Initial reports had put the number of attackers at six.

A joint investigation into the attack went nowhere and tension between the neighbours has risen over the course of a year marked by protests and cross-border clashes in India-held Kashmir.

"We have filed the charge sheet and further investigations will continue," an NIA official told AFP on condition of anonymity. "We have material evidence against the accused."

Investigators in New Delhi said the charge-sheet and evidence would be offered to Pakistani authorities to take action against the perpetrators of the attack.

"We want Pakistan to arrest Maulana Masood Azhar and he should be deported to India," said a senior Indian home ministry official who is overseeing the investigation.

The charge-sheet cited DNA samples, food packets from Pakistan found in woodlands near the airbase, a walkie-talkie set and a note found in a car used by the militants to drive to the base.

India said it had earlier given what it called "actionable intelligence" on alleged Jaish involvement in the attack to Pakistan, including telephone intercepts.

Pakistan took Azhar, who was also blamed for a 2001 attack on India's parliament, into 'protective custody' after the Pathankot attack. Its investigators later found no evidence against either Azhar or Jaish-i-Mohammed.

No arrests have yet been made over the Pathankot attack, a rare instance of militants targeting an Indian military installation outside the disputed region of Kashmir. Pakistan banned JeM in 2002, a year after it was blamed for an attack on the Indian parliament that took the two neighbours to the brink of war. It also arrested the group's leader in the wake of the 2008 Mumbai attacks, but he was later released.