IAF seeks ITBP canines to secure vital air bases

IAF seeks ITBP canines to secure vital air bases

 In a step to secure its bases after the Pathankot attack, the IAF has sought the services of trained canines from paramilitary ITBP for security duties.

ITBP officials said today the Air Headquarters has sought help from the Union Home Ministry to allow it "procure" a contingent of trained dogs for anti-sabotage and explosive detection duties from one of the paramilitary forces, preferably the ITBP.

The Indian Air Force(IAF), they said, has informed that at present it does not have "adequate" number of canines to deploy for such duties and hence it is seeking "immediate" help in this regard from their counterparts in the internal security domain after a comprehensive security audit of its 950 flying and non-flying bases necessitated the urgent requirement for having these security measures.

The audit also brought to fore chinks in the security of these bases including at Pathankot.

The IAF is understood to be interested in procuring these four-legged soldiers from the inventory of border guarding force Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) force as it is not only decorated as the 'centre of excellence' in this domain but is also credited with training the most versatile breed of Belgian Malinois dogs for infantry patrol and operations role in the country for the first time.

The ITBP canines are also the most relied by security agencies to conduct anti-sabotage checks before and during the conduct of a VVIP event.

Sources said the IAF is preparing a comprehensive security of its bases and deployment of security dogs is one of the most important aspects highlighted in the recently completed audit done by it.

The IAF has, meanwhile, set in motion its plans to procure more and more pups for training them in anti-sabotage security duties and deploy them in phases at these bases for vigil and perimeter patrol.

Till that time, they said, the IAF will procure fully-trained canines from the ITBP and take Labradors and German Shepherd breed of dogs for deployment in the first phase.

They said a meeting between the officials of the Ministry of Home Affairs, ITBP and IAF is soon expected to take place during which the exact numbers, cost and delivery timelines would be finalised.

The January 2 attack on the Pathankot air base, which houses fighter jets and attack helicopters, left 7 security personnel dead while four militants were also killed.

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