Interview: Air Marshal speaks on Pathankot terror attack

Pathankot, Jan 6: There have been questions raised over how the operation at Pathankot took over 60 hours to complete. It has been said that 6 terrorists kept 500 security personnel engaged for over three days and questions have been raised over this.

Air Marshal (retd) B K Pandey who is familiar with the Pathankot air force station says that in such operations there is no need to rush.


It makes no sense in rushing through such an operation when you are aware that the terrorists have been contained to a non-technical area.

In this interview with OneIndia, Air Marshal (retd) B K Pandey speaks about the Pathankot attack, what India's response should be apart from the fact that Pakistan will continue with terror no matter what the bonhomie is.

Why do you think the operations took so long to complete?

It is never wise to rush through such an operation. Firstly the security forces had contained them to a non-technical area and ensured that the assets were safe. When this being the case rushing through an operation could only result in more damage.

The idea of engaging the terrorists for so long is to first ensure that they run out of water. They come in with a limited supply of food and water.

Once they run out of water, they do not last that long. In any such operation this is what the security forces aim to do. The security forces would wait until the terrorists tire out.

What is your assessment of the damage at the air force station?

Trust me there is no damage what so ever. The terrorists were isolated in the forest area and hence were unable to inflict any sort of damage on the strategic assets.

The last two terrorists entered into a building, but that was empty. They were smoked out of there early.

What do you think of the decision to send in the NSG instead of the Special Forces from Kashmir?
Kashmir has provided a wonderful training ground for the Indian army.

Every soldier gets battle hardened after doing a stint in Kashmir. The forces there are better equipped to handle terror and such situation. Hence in such an event the forces from Kashmir should have been called in and not the NSG.

What is your assessment of the security at the Pathankot air force station?

There has been a mess in terms of internal security. We must understand that first. The Pathankot air force station security is the responsibility of the Indian Air Force.

This air force station has a boundary wall of 15 kilometres and to guard the entire area by humans is difficult. When we lack in human resources, there is a need to rely more on technology.

How well prepared do you think these terrorists were?

In this attack, the terrorists sneaked in through the storm water drain. This means that there was a proper survey of the area conducted.

Someone locally has provided them with information about how to enter the base through the storm water drain.It is not as though they have found it themselves.

Yesterday Defence Minister, Manohar Parrikar said that there were gaps?
Yes true there were gaps.

The fact is that the terrorists managed to enter the air base itself is a matter of concern. Now appropriate action should be taken to strengthen the air field.

What is the next course of action. How does India deal with Pakistan?

First and foremost we need a deterrent capability which can be used to punish those agencies in Pakistan who unleash terror in India.

The army and the air force must be given this capability to blow the enemy. For now we do not have that capability. Let us not worry too much about Pakistan declaring war.

They do not have the capability to fight a full fledged war and hence will stick to terrorism since it is cost effective for them.

OneIndia News

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