Pathankot, Jan 5: The introspection has already begun and there are many loop holes that need to be plugged following the terrorist attack at Pathankot.
The terrorists attacked the Pathankot air force station with a specific intention of embarrassing the Indian security establishment.
The Indian Air Force says that the terrorists have not managed to achieve their goal and all the technical area was secured at all times. Air force stations house several assets such as fighter jets and attack choppers.
Moreover, in the Pathankot operation, the biggest achievement is that the terrorists were not able to inflict any damage on the runway.
In every war that India has had with Pakistan in the past the latter has always tried to damage the runway at Pathankot first as it cripples the air force.
The bigger problems that need to be addressed:
First and foremost, India cannot continue to take the Punjab issue lightly anymore. Terrorists have hit Punjab twice in six months and this clearly signals the urge by Pakistan to set up shop in the state once again.
There has been talks of the revival of the Khalistan movement. In the investigations being conducted into the Pathankot attack one of the angles of focus is whether Khalistan militant groups provided support to the Jaish-e-Mohammad.
While Pakistan based militant groups have their eyes set on Kashmir, they will continue to look for other states to attack in a bid to embarrass the Indian establishment. The fact that Punjab has been hit twice in six months calls for tighter vigil along the border.
Following the attack, the Home Ministry was quick to understand this and called for a report from the Border Security Force on how the infiltration took place.
The BSF in its report stated that there was no breach in the fence, but some of the equipment along the International Border were not functioning. This led to a breakdown of some of the electronic surveillance as a result of which the terrorists could have infiltrated.
Fence every pocket:
The vigil and the protection at Punjab must be as good as Jammu and Kashmir. The fact that the terrorists managed to enter despite additional security personnel of 1,000 being deployed along the Punjab border after the Gurdaspur attack points towards a technical glitch.
The BSF in its report to the Home Ministry has said that there are several pockets which are unfenced. Moreover there is growth of elephant grass in these areas which can provide cover for a group of people attempting to infiltrate.
Moreover, on the day that the terrorists infiltrated some of the hand held thermal imagers and the Battle Field Surveillance Radars, placed at the places where fencing is not erected, did not pick up any signal due to a technical glitch.
During the high level meetings that were held following the Pathankot attack, the relevance of border security especially at Punjab came up for discussion.
It was decided that security along the Punjab border needs to be reviewed and a system as strong as the one we get to see in Jammu and Kashmir will be set up in due course of time.
Dealing with Pakistan:
The good will gesture by the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi following his Lahore visit was clearly not respected. It is amply clear that the JeM militants were launched into India with the help of the Pakistan army/ISI.
However, going by the history of Pakistan this was on expected lines as the military of that country wants no peace.
For now India will take the diplomatic path to address the issue with Pakistan post the Pathankot attack. The foreign secretary level talks scheduled to be held later this month is being postponed to facilitate a National Security Advisor level talks first.
Moreover, the proof that India has compiled so far relating to the attack is being submitted to Pakistan. The ball now is in the court of Pakistan and India would want to see how they act against the JeM. The rest of the action would depend on how Pakistan reacts.