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Pathankot Attack: Parrikar Admits ‘Gaps’ in Security

The NSG was flown to the base as reinforcements along with the army, which deployed eight columns (around 300 personnel) armed with three BMP-armoured personnel carriers. “One group was to engage the security forces while the other group was to blow up high value assets of IAF”, sources added. Regretting the “lapse” of the security personnel which helped terrorists enter the strategically vital installation and which has cast a shadow on the government’s response, sources said the precise intelligence was the sign of a successful counter-terror operation.

Parrikar said the entire operation was “a very difficult” one but it had been accomplished without compromising not just the strategic assets but also even the buildings. They later burnt these vehicles in order to draw out the officers to put out the fire. At 7.30 p.m. (on Sunday), they (terrorists) were finished. Yet, the terrorists were able to enter the base where they started firing indiscriminately. With the terrorist’s rifle itself, he killed the terrorist.

Parrikar said except the Garud commando, no one else was killed in direct operation.

Operation to eliminate terrorists being done jointly by NSG and Garud. The fifth terrorist, according to the security forces, was killed on Monday.

The NSG team flew in at least 8 hours before the terrorists struck to fortify the base, but were clearly not successful.

Parrikar said that he was anxious as to how the terrorists had managed to come inside the base which has a perimeter of 24 kms and located in an area of about 2,000 acres.

When asked about possible Pakistani connections, Parrikar said, “There are some indications that some of the material seized was made in Pakistan”. Soon after returning from his two-day visit to Karnataka, Modi chaired a meeting of top officials including national security adviser Ajit Doval and foreign secretary S Jaishankar.

Any whiff of the Pakistan government’s complicity in attack will derail talks, sources said.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi called a meeting to discuss the Pathankot air base attack as well as the siege on the Indian consulate in Afghanistan. The outfit claimed that the attack was carried out by the terrorists associated with its Highway Squad, headed by Jaish-e-Mohammad terror chief Syed Salahuddin.

The air base attack has shown for the nth time that India’s readiness to defend and prevent such strikes is well below par.

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