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EditorialRelenting on terror not condonable

Relenting on terror not condonable


Relenting on terror not condonable

The J&K Conference president and former chief minister, Mr. Omar Abdullah in a statement the other day, said that the provocative public statements of BJP Ministers and Party leaders that were responsible for escalated attacks on security forces and also on LoC.  He may be right in his analysis but, it is observed that most of his statements and those of his father reflects some element of irritation deep inside of always accusing centre. Their opponents usually terms the Father-Son duo's outbursts as sheer frustration of their being out of power, which they are not used to.

While the incident of gunning down of seven Indian armymen by terrorists including two officers in a fidayeen attack on the Nagrota military base in region on Tuesday is unfortunate at the same time it is a stark reminder that crucial lessons have not been learnt from the two similar attacks in Pathankot and Uri this year.

The Minister, Mr. Manohar Parikar, who was very vocal on surgical strike and to whom Omar Abdullah may have hinted, finally admitted that there were lapses in security preparedness at Nagrota. However, it is practice with the Abdullahs, they always speak bitter of and favouring Pakistan whenever they are ousted from power by none else but the Kashmiri before whom they are fully exposed by their follies. Notwithstanding, what Omar Abdullah and his father uttered often, the relenting on terror by Army cannot be condoned.

Indeed, the chinks in the security infrastructure are all too clear and need immediate attention. Much lip service is being paid to proper perimeter security around the military bases and better intrusion detection systems but precious little is being done in this direction.

As is our wont, there are meetings and meetings but when the preparation is put to the test, it fails. That this terror strike location was a mere four kilometres from the headquarters of the 16 Corps, which is the largest corps in the Indian Army, underlines the gravity of the security lapse. That the terrorists were heavily armed and had penetrated our defences 50 km from the Pakistani border is cause for us to sit up and strengthen our defences.

It needs to be established why there was very little follow-up action to the wide-ranging recommendations of the tri-Services committee led by former army chief Lt Gen Philip Campose (retd) which was set up after the Pathankot terror attack which claimed seven lives and injured 25. There is a need for systemic changes to ensure that such informed recommendations and intelligence tip-offs are treated with the seriousness they deserve.

Why must we be caught napping more often than not? The laxity in perimeter security was manifest. One shudders to think what would have happened had the terrorists managed to hold the 14 persons in the officers' mess hostage who included two women and two children. Are the prolonged stress levels in the forces compromising their security?

Evidently, this is the new Pakistan army chief, General Bajwa's way of saying that he is going to be no less ruthless and hawkish than his predecessor, General Raheel Sharif. The Nagrota terror attack could also be a subtle message to Pakistan's political establishment that any peace overtures by them, as contemplated by the country's foreign affairs adviser Sartaj Aziz and High Commissioner Basit, would not be tolerated when the former attends the Heart of Asia conference in Amritsar shortly.

The Northlines is an independent source on the Web for news, facts and figures relating to Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh and its neighbourhood.

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