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Pathankot Strike: IAF's Probe Finds 'Security Lapses, Command Failure'

After being allegedly indicted by the Court of Inquiry, Commander JS Dhamoon has taken pre-mature retirement, although IAF sources say Dhamoon quit due to personal reasons

Shreya Dhoundial | CNN-News18

Updated:June 21, 2017, 12:50 PM IST
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Pathankot Strike: IAF's Probe Finds 'Security Lapses, Command Failure'
File photo of Indian police personnel near the airforce base in Pathankot. (Image: Getty Images)
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New Delhi: The IAF Court of Inquiry has found serious security lapses and command failure in the Pathankot strike, which took place on January 2, 2016.

After being allegedly indicted by the Court of Inquiry, Commander JS Dhamoon has taken premature retirement, although IAF sources say Dhamoon quit due to personal reasons.

Air Commodore JS Dhamoon was the commander of the Pathankot airbase. Sources say he was indicted by the court of inquiry (COI) for failing to secure the base when it was stormed by Jaish-e-Muhammed terrorists.

The COI found that the IAF Garud Commandos were under prepared and under trained to tackle the strike in which 7 security personnel died. The COI noted that had the commandos managed to pin down the 4 terrorists, lives of 5 Defence Security Corps personnel could have been saved. Even the ropes that terrorists used to scale down perimeter walls could not be detected.

The inquiry found that the airbase had prior intel about the impending attack but no comprehensive plan was put in place. Even basic Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) to secure the installations were violated – guard posts were not maintained and flood lights were not working.

JS Dhamoon, Air Officer Commanding (AOC), had taken over the charge of the Pathankot air base in July, 2014 and he was transferred from the base less than two months after the terror attack.

In the wake of the Pathankot terror attack, the IAF has been training selected people at its bases in Bathinda in Punjab and Naliya in Gujarat on countering such strikes effectively.

A security audit of defence bases was carried out on the recommendation of a committee headed by Lt Gen Philip Campose which was set up after the terror attack. The committee was asked to recommend measures to beef up security at the military bases.

Following the security audit, revised standard operating procedures (SOPs) were sent to the commands of all three services to revamp their security management, including putting in place a multi-tier security structure.

A parliamentary panel had in March come down hard on the defence ministry for failing to take any concrete measures to beef up security at frontline military bases, and said the scenario is as "vulnerable" as has been "exposed" during the Uri and Pathankot terror attacks.

The Campose Committee had submitted its report to Defence Ministry last May.

The parliamentary panel had said security arrangements at military establishments were dynamic in nature and called for maintaining a robust and strong response mechanism to emerging threats.

The three services had sought Rs 2,000 crore from the government to plug the gaps in security at their bases in the wake of the Pathankot terror attack.
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| Edited by: Aditya Nair
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