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Defence Minister admits ‘security lapses’ lead to terror attack

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Pathankot: Security lapses led to the IAF Base terror attack due to which seven security personnel and six terrorists died, admitted Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar  on Tuesday.

Parrikar also told the media after visiting the base that combing operations were still going on but “this is only for safety purposes” and that no more terrorists were believed hidden in the huge complex.

Some gaps led to security lapses, leading to the pre-dawn terror attack on Saturday, the minister said. He did not elaborate.

“What is worrying is how they (terrorists) entered the base,” he added.

Parrikar visited the Pathankot Indian Air Force base in Punjab on Tuesday along with the chiefs of the army and air force.

The head of the National Investigation Agency (NIA), which is probing the audacious terrorist strike, also visited the base separately.

“Combing operations are (still) going on,” Parrikar said. “This is only for safety purposes.”

He said the body of one of the terrorists still had a suicide vest, with a grenade sticking out.

“I am very, very clear that they (our officers) should not take any risk,” he said, recalling how a National Security Guard (NSG) officer lost his life earlier while trying to reportedly shift a similar body.

Parrikar admitted that the entire operation “is a very difficult” one.

“It is tedious. This has been done without compromising any assets… Not just the strategic assets but even a building.”

He said barring one building where the terrorists took shelter, no other building was even damaged because the security personnel managed to corner the raiders in a corner of the sprawling base.

He said the terrorists had AK-47 rifles, pistols, Swiss knives, commando knives besides 40-50 kg of bullets. They also had improvised mortars. “They had high-quality explosives.”

The minister said the NIA had started an investigation into the attack. He said it would find out “who sent them”.

“They have got initial leads, where they have come from, how they have come.”(IANS)

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Operation Meghdoot: Role of Indian Air Force

Indian Air Force backed the Indian Army during Operation Meghdoot by supplying troops and stores

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Ensign of Indian Air Force. Wikimedia commons
Ensign of Indian Air Force. Wikimedia commons
  • Operation Meghdoot’s objective was to capture the Siachen Glacier.
  • Indian Army expeditions were going on in the high-altitude region.
  • IAF was tasked with supporting the troops with backup and supplies.

Operation Meghdoot was launched in 1984, it aimed to capture the Siachen Glacier. It was quite a unique operation because of Siachen’s dreaded terrain and unforgiving climate. The mission was a successful one, India gained control over the Siachen Glacier.

India now controls the 70 kilometres long glacier and the three major passes west of it (Sia La, Bilafond La, and Gyong La. Whereas Pakistan controls the area west of Saltoro Ridge. The TIME magazine states, India has control over 1,000 square miles of territory because of its exceptional military operation.

You may also like: 20 Amazing Facts About Indian Navy

Siachen glacier, known as the third pole of the world, is one of the most dreaded places in the world. Mainly due to its temperature and terrain. Wikimedia commons
Siachen glacier, known as the third pole of the world, is one of the most dreaded places in the world. Mainly due to its temperature and terrain. Wikimedia Commons

IAF had played a major role in this operation. It used Il-76, An-12, and An-32 to transport troops and drop supplies to these extremely high altitude battlefields. Following which, Mi-17, Mi-8 and HAL Chetak would carry the same to the east.

IAF’s performance was incredible, taking into account how extreme the temperature and altitude are at Siachen. The operation is a saga which showcased such skill that can never be forgotten.

IAF's uncompromising valour made it possible for the Indian Army to capture the Siachen Glacier. Wikimedia commons
IAF’s uncompromising valour made it possible for the Indian Army to capture the Siachen Glacier. Wikimedia Commons

Role of Indian Air Force

When the first IAF sortie was launched to Siachen on 20th September 1978, Chetak helicopters used to supply stores to the on-ground Indian Army. That’s when a thought occurred to one of the IAF officers “Why not pick their emails for their loved ones back home?” They used to drop a string with a note saying “We are coming back in 10 minutes. Please write your letters and put them in a bag.”

This kind gesture of the Indian Air Force symbolized the brotherhood of ‘men in arms’. It also boosted the morale of Indian Army troops who were leading expeditions on the ‘third pole of the world’.

Also read: All you want to know about the ranks of Indian army

IAF operates from 60 bases across the country. Wikimedia commons
IAF operates from 60 bases across the country. Wikimedia Commons

IAF helicopters used to fly at the height of 16,000 feet, many times, the officers had to take oxygen directly from the pipe. They also had the job of taking injured troops back to base camp. However, it isn’t as simple as it sounds.

Finding the expedition parties in the never-ending desert of ice, then landing the helicopter on the lumps of snow were tasks that required unmistakable skill.

IAF is the fourth most powerful air force in the world. Wikimedia commons
IAF is the fourth most powerful air force in the world. Wikimedia Commons

How IAF operates in Siachen now

Indian Air Force has a far different set of procedures than that of the time of Operation Meghdoot. The operations are scientifically planned and executed meticulously.

  • IL-76s and An-32s supply stores to the men in Leh and Thoise from Chandigarh.
  • Thereafter, Mi-17 helicopters airdrop supplies to the lower level helipads at 17,500 feets.
  • Cheetahs then take over and ferry the supplies to helipads situated at 20,000 feet.