Parrikar admits to gaps in security set-up

Parrikar admits to gaps in security set-up

Aftermath: All 6 militants killed; combing op over, area yet to be sanitised

Parrikar admits to gaps in security set-up

As the military operation inside the Pathankot airbase ended on Tuesday with the killing of the sixth terrorist, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar admitted to “gaps in security” apparatus.

“I see some gaps, but there has been no compromise on security,” Parrikar told the media in Pathankot. The defence minister also hinted at Pakistan’s role saying that the material recovered from the slain terrorists indicates that they were made in Pakistan.
He also said the matter was under probe and the National Investigation Agency (NIA) has gathered leads as to how and where the terrorists came from.

The airbase has been cleared of terrorists, but the combing operation to neutralise un-exploded bombs and high-quality explosive material dropped by the militants will continue at least till Wednesday.

Those martyred in the operation have been declared as “battle casualty” which entitles the next of their kin to avail the honour, emoluments and employment.

While the minister lauded security agencies for the success in this complex operation, he also expressed a serious concern. “My worry is how the terrorists managed to enter the air base. Though the security agencies contained them, it is still worrying that they entered inside,” said Parrikar.

Bodies of the last two terrorists gunned down since Monday were all burnt. In fact, parts of the bodies were scattered in two sides and a DNA verification will now be required.

A body was booby-trapped and had a explosive with a unplugged pin that made it potentially risky to deal with. Bengaluru-based Lt Col Niranjan Kumar was killed in an explosion while trying to deal with the body of a terrorist which had a similar booby trap.

The minister said, only one security personnel, Garuda commando Gursewak Singh, died in direct offensive operation. “The death of five DSC personnel, I would say, was more due to bad luck,” he said. He lauded two security personnel, including Jagdish Chand, who physically grappled with the terrorists before he was killed. The terrorists had at least 40-50 kg of bullets and 3-4 dozens of magazines besides AK-47 assault guns, specially modified under-barrel grenade launchers and more.

On the preparedness of the security forces, the minister said it takes time to guard such a huge campus spread over 1,900 acres. “There were 3,000 families, strategic air force assets and foreign officers from six to seven countries inside the compound,” he said.

On whether or not the Army wasn’t requisitioned on time, he said: “The Army does not perform civil duties. It cannot stop routes.” Parrikar said he has now advised the Army, NSG and other security agencies to regularly conduct joint exercises. Meanwhile, the NIA is observing contradictions in the statements made by Gurdaspur SP Sulwinder Singh, who was abducted and let-off by these terrorists.

Singh was the one to alert the police about the possibility of terrorists around since they were in Army fatigues and were armed.