Pathankot attack: Who should have led the counter strike?

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Post every terror attack, there is bound to be analysis and what went wrong. In the case of the Pathankot terrorist attack the first question that comes to mind is why the army was not the lead agency in combating the terrorists.

After the intercepts were deciphered, New Delhi was quick to press the NSG commandos a move that was defended later on the ground that there were civilians in the air force station. [Timeline of Pathankot terror attack]

Pathankot

There are none in the country who can battle hardened terrorists the way the 4 Para (SF) and 9 Para (SF) do. Both these commando units of the Indian army are stationed in Jammu and Kashmir and should have been deployed instead of the NSG, experts feel.

Too many cooks spoil the broth:

The Pathankot operation to eliminate the terrorists is a classic case of too many cooks spoiling the broth. Who really was in charge is a million dollar question that is being asked. Moreover, why when the intelligence alerts suggested that it was going to be an attack on a military base was the NSG sent in.

Clearly there was no hostage crisis and hence the of the NSG over the elite force of the army is very much questionable. Several experts say that the 4 Para (SF) and the 9 Para (SF) should be have deployed immediately. They are experts at combating such a situation and could have finished the operation earlier.

This argument can be supported with an incident that took place ahead of the December 13, 2001 Parliament attack. Militants had tried to storm a base in Jammu and Kashmir, but were all neutralised when they were trying to scale the wall.

How did the terrorists enter in the first place:

Arun Jaitley, the finance minister of India said that the security forces were completely successful in averting any damage to the strategic assets in the base. Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said yesterday that there were gaps, but security was not comproimised.

One clearly fails to understand this statement. What about the fact that the terrorists managed to enter the base in the first place. The air base is one of the strategic points for the Indian Air Force. In almost all Indo-Pak wars, this is the base that the enemy looks to target as it tends to cripple the air force.

Parrikar himself said at the press briefing yesterday that his worry was how did they manage to enter? This air base a wall of 10 feet with concertina coil of 2 feet.

As per the initial account that the NIA has got, two of the terrorists reached the base earlier and provided fire cover while the rest entered. While the securing of strategic assets is commendable questions do arise over how they entered the base in the first place. Was the security mechanism at the base not alert?

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