Pathankot, Jan 4: On Dec 25, 2015, there was chatter that was picked up by the Intelligence Bureau (IB) which suggested a major infiltration bid into India from Pakistan.
There was some amount of confusion over which outfit it would be. On analysing the intelligence, it was felt that an attack could be staged either by the al-Qaeda in the Sub-Continent, Tehrik-e-Taliban or the Jaish-e-Mohammad.
On Dec 26, the intelligence bureau working on these intercepts began to get a clearer picture and it was found that a terrorist group would infiltrate its men into Punjab and there was a major operation being planned on a military installation.
The Chief of the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) and the Intelligence Bureau along with the National Security Advisor (NSA), Ajit Doval analysed these intercepts and it was stated that all of them were actionable.
Following this the Border Security Force (BSF) and the Indian Air Force (IAF) were alerted about this intercept and an advisory to step up security was issued.
Who is to blame now?
The job of the Intelligence Bureau is to pick up the alert, analyse it and then issue it once it is confirmed that it is actionable in nature.
The role of a National Security Advisor is to advise the Prime Minister on security related issues.
However, Doval being an intelligence man has taken keen interest in ensuring that there are no intelligence lapses.
The first signals to the BSF and the IAF were issued from Dec 26 onwards. The Home Ministry will seek an explanation from both wings on why the security was not stepped up despite such specific alerts.
How did the terrorists infiltrate and why was the Pathankot air force station not secured?
By December 30, it had become clear that an operation of a major scale was planned by the Jaish-e-Mohammad and they were in particular looking to hit a military base.
The message was sent once again to step up security. In the meantime there were two incidents that took place on Jan 1 in which a taxi driver was killed and a Superintendent of Police abducted.
All this information was analysed and alerts were being issued in a timely fashion. The question now is whose responsibility was it to act on these alerts?
Intelligence Bureau officials say that they are not part of operations and their job is to warn and alert the security forces.
The attack could have been much worse, but due to the alerts the terrorists were kept away from the technical area.
Moreover, it was also ensured that there were no civilian casualties. Had the terrorists been out on the streets, there would have been civilian casualties and it would have been very difficult to contain them.