Security audit exposes flaws


: One month after the terror attack on Pathankot Air Force station, the Air Force has completed a security audit of all air bases and will soon initiate measures to address the loop holes that have been identified.

“A security audit of all bases has been conducted and has been conducted and steps will be taken as per the requirements,” a senior Air Force official said.

The official elaborated that every station has its own specific structure which needs specific measures based on the vulnerabilities identified. “We will put up forward proposals before the government for procurement of equipment as needed,” the official added.

The measures include electrification of the fences around the bases, additional lighting, and deployment of other sensors among others. Military installations in Kashmir and other high threat locations like Awantipora and Srinagar already have electrified fences which would be extended to all bases. Smart electrical fencing is among the top priorities, officials said.

The audit was conducted on the instructions of Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar. “A specific team is being made. It will visit (the bases) and look into priorities like risk factor, sensitivity and assets,” Mr. Parrikar had said on January 21.

On the early hours on January 2, six heavily armed terrorists believed to be from Jaish-e-Mohammad attacked Pathankot air base, the Air Force’s key base on the western border, and the holdup went on for four days before the terrorists were killed. Seven soldiers were also killed in the operation.

Officials also said that Defence Security Corps (DSC) and Garud commandos of the Air Force would continue to do perimeter security duties and more units would be deployed if needed.

During the Pathankot there was widespread criticism from experts on the employment of DSC and Garuds as the first responders after the terror attack.

While Air Force officials claim that Garuds are trained for counter insurgency operations, former Air Chief Air Marshal Fali H.Major said that “Garuds were raised for a different mandate for special Air Force tasks and not anti-terror operations”.

Officials also expressed concern at the proximity of civilian constructions close to air bases which severely compromises security.

Ideally there is supposed to be a 900 metre buffer zone outside air bases but does not happen due to the rapid urbanisation. After the incident officials are reviewing the dwellings in close proximity to bases and initiating measures to relocate them.

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Printable version | Jan 26, 2020 1:55:37 AM |

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