Army chief to review post-Jan 2 terror attack security on Mar 5

Sanjeev Pargal
JAMMU, Feb 24: Ahead of the proposed visit of Pakistan’s Special Investigating Team (SIT) in Pathankot, Army chief Gen Dalbir Singh will be visiting Pathankot for high level review of security scenario on March 5 along with the Western Command chief Lt Gen KJ Singh and other senior Commanders of the Army.
“Situation along the borders with Pakistan in Jammu and Punjab, which have been high on target of the militants, would come up for a detailed review in the meeting, which will be the Army chief’s first after January 2 terror attack at Pathankot airbase in which seven security personnel and six militants (some agencies put number of the militants at four) were killed,’’ official sources told the Excelsior.
They said Gen Dalbir Singh along with Western Command chief Lt Gen KJ Singh, GOC 9 Corps (Yol Cantonment) Lt Gen Ashok Ambre and other top Commanders of the Army would hold high level security review post-January 2 terror attack at Pathankot after addressing the ex-servicemen at Mamoon Cantonment on March 5.
According to sources, the Army chief was expected to review the prevalent security situation along the borders in Jammu and Punjab, falling under the Western Command, steps taken after January 2 terror attack to check infiltration attempts by the militants to curb terror attacks and places where Pakistan probe team could be taken, if it was allowed to visit Pathankot by the Central Government.
Though Pakistan has claimed that its SIT, which has been probing involvement of Pakistani militants including that of Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) in Pathankot terror attack of January 2, would visit India and then site of the attack, the Central Government was yet to officially confirm that the neighbouring country’s team will be allowed to visit Pathankot in view of strategic site including airbase and other important assets of the Indian Air Force (IAF) there.
Sources said entire gamut of security aspects would come under high level review during the meeting. Though investigations in the Pathankot attack were being conducted by the National Investigating Agency (NIA), the Army and Indian Air Force (IAF) had ordered their own security audit to point out the security lapses that led the militants inside the highly fortified air base, which housed strategic air assets of the country.
“The security audit is also slated for high level review as Army wants to ensure that all possible steps were taken by the security agencies to prevent January 2 like terror attack on defence installations especially in Jammu and Pathankot in future,’’ sources said.
Army had ordered security audit of all defence installations and the borders in Jammu and Punjab after January 2 terror attack, which has been completed. The Army, according to sources, was now taking all measures based on the security audit to protect its installations especially those located along the Jammu-Pathankot National Highway and beyond and in the border areas, which have been targeted by the militants in the past.
Sources said the security audit of all security related establishments and infrastructure has been carried out by agencies concerned to assess physical security measures and upgrade it wherever necessary.
The BSF has also identified 30 kilometers border in the area of responsibility of Gurdaspur sector for installation of pilot project for comprehensive integrated border management system to improve the border surveillance further, sources said.
The Government has also set up a committee headed by Lt General (Retd) Philip Campose to look into the Pathankot incident and recommend measures to strengthen security of various military establishments. The Govern-ment has asked the Committee to submit its report by March 31.


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