Pathankot, Jan 4: The Pathankot Air Force Station which is under attack by terrorists of the Jaish-e-Mohammad is a tactically important base for various reasons.
Post this attack there is going to a review of the security and also introspection on how terrorists managed to enter such a highly secure zone.
First and foremost the Pathankot Air Force Station acts as the first line of air defence against any attack from Pakistan.
The air station is located on the tip of Punjab which is around 40 kilometres from the India-Pakistan international border.
The importance of the Pathankot air force station:
The air force station which is part of the Western Air Command houses the 108 Squadron Hawkeyes that fly the MiG-21 fighters and also the 125 Helicopter Unit Gladiators.
An air base that spreads over 75 acres, it has been in action during the wars with Pakistan. It has always been the first target of the Pakistanis and an attack on the air base was carried out during the 1965 war.
In the 1971 war Pakistan had launched an air strike on this base in which the run way had been damaged.
Further this air base also provides logistic support to operations that are being carried out in Jammu and Kashmir.
The role of this air base is also to provide an operational range for air raids into Pakistan territory. This air base houses the MIG-21 Bison Fighter jets, the MI-25 and MI-35 attack choppers.
Why did terrorists attack Pathankot air base:
The Pathankot air base has been a target of Pakistan is almost every war that it has fought with India.
The Air Force station is often considered as the Pride of India and hence making a favoured target of Pakistan based militants as well.
The attack on the air force station was an audacious one and would classify as a spectacular attack in terrorist terminology.
While India has lost 7 brave soldiers, the battle against terrorists who come to die is never easy. They have nothing to lose as they are prepared to die which makes the battles against the fidayeens even more difficult.
The choice of Pathankot by the Jaish-e-Mohammad was with an intention of testing the security mechanism and also to cause embarrassment.
For any terrorist organisation an attack on a military installation or base is considered to be a huge moral victory as it determines the strength of the outfit.