A Court of Inquiry (CoI) by the Indian Air Force (IAF) into the terror attack on the Pathankot Air Force Station last year has found serious lapses in the air base’s security as well as its handling of the incident. The then Commander of the Air Force Station J.S. Dhamoon , who has been named in the inquiry, has taken Pre-mature Retirement (PMR) on his own accord.
The IAF inquiry, conducted by Air Vice-Marshal Amit Dev, found lapses in the base’s security. The report noted that had the terrorists been pinned down by IAF Garud commandos, the lives of the five Defence Security Corps personnel could have been saved.
Six heavily armed terrorists from Pakistan attacked the Pathankot Air Force station in the early hours of January 2, 2016. The ensuing encounter lasted five days and claimed the lives of seven security personnel.
The inquiry is also learnt to have observed that despite having prior intelligence of the attack, a comprehensive plan was not put in place. There was failure to even detect the ropes used to scale the perimeter wall and the personal clothing item and food left behind by terrorists despite the base being on high alert. It also pointed out that the standard operating procedures to secure installations had been violated — guard posts were not properly maintained and flood lights and other systems were not functioning properly.
The report also faulted the Garud Commandos for their failure in handling the situation and said that they were ill-prepared for the task. As a result, it has now been decided to deploy them in counter-insurgency operations in Jammu and Kashmir to gain experience.
“The Garuds are a competent force but they need to battle-hardened. Based on the inquiry report, the government has decided to deploy them in J&K for battle inoculation,” defence sources said.
IAF sources said the CoI is still underway and the report will have to go through several levels before it is accepted.
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