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Friday, 8 January 2016

From Today's Papers - 08 Jan 2016

Drug smugglers helped cross over
More BSF men to guard sensitive points as assessment lists gaping holes
Ajay Banerjee

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 7
After a comprehensive assessment of the Pathankot terror attack, the  Indian security establishment has found that conduits for smuggling drugs on either side of the border were used  by terrorists to cross over to India with arms, including mortars.

Most of these drug conduits on the Pakistani side are controlled by the ISI and have in the past been used to push arms and terrorists inside the Indian territory.

Top sources said it was clear that the six terrorists, who attacked the Indian Air Force (IAF) base at Pathankot at 3.30 am on January 2, entered India in two groups.

The group carrying bigger weapons arrived before the second group of four militants who killed taxi driver Ikagar Singh and “abducted” SP Salwinder Singh. The complicity of BS Force officials in allowing the drug carriers to pass through unfenced portions of the border and also middle-level politicians in Punjab is not ruled out.

After the assessment, three key steps have been initiated. First, Punjab will get additional BSF companies to guard sensitive segments, especially the riverine stretch that is not fenced. Second, a way has been found for foolproof security in the area where the Ravi and its tributaries criss-cross  the border. Third, security on the periphery of military bases  will be strengthened. A new method will be devised for the job.

After an alert was received, the first priority before Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha was to secure the assets. The MiG 21 fighter jets were moved out while the Army hiked security around missiles, ATC, ammunition and fuel dumps. Some 500 armed soldiers were stationed in Pathankot on January 1, hours before the attack. The immediate task at hand was to protect the 3,000 families inside the air base.  IG Operations of the National Security Guard (NSG) Maj Gen Dushyant Singh was made the commander of the operations in consultation with the Army.
Movement near Tibri Cantt sighted by drone
Footprints traced, dog squad deployed
Ravi Dhaliwal

Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, January 7
Those living in the city and its suburbs remain in the grip of fear even as a joint operation by nearly 1,000 Army men, Punjab Police personnel and the BSF is under way near Pandher village where terrorists were spotted yesterday.

Hundred floodlights have been installed in the vicinity of a 15-acre sugarcane field where heavily armed militants are said to be hiding. The operation is being conducted barely 2 km from the outer wall of the Tibri Cantonment.

This morning, Brig VK Tripathi, a hurriedly drawn up map in hand, asked Satnam Singh, who claims to have sighted two terrorists in long coats, dark glasses and boots, at 2.30 pm yesterday, to wear a bullet-proof jacket. Later, the Brigadier and 12 Army personnel took him to a point from where the terrorists are believed to have sneaked in.  

The Military Intelligence (MI) confirmed that “some people were in the sugarcane field.” However, officers refused to elaborate. Brig Tripathi reportedly noticed footprints near the point identified by Satnam. “The depth of the footprints indicates the men are carrying a heavy load,” said an Army officer.

A dog squad was rushed to the site. Minutes later, a senior police officer announced that he was sure somebody was hiding in the area. 

The Air Force drone camera has spotted some movement too. But no official was willing to confirm this.

A military helicopter kept hovering over the area as the Army, police and BSF officers met on the Gurdaspur-Mukerian road for confabulations.

At one point of time, both the SWAT teams, which arrived here yesterday, were put in a state of preparedness. Thrice the SWAT and Army teams geared up to comb the sugarcane fields but on all these occasions the plan was put on hold either due to ‘technical reasons’ or ‘logistical glitches.’ As night descended, at least 100 floodlights were installed at various points.

Later in the evening, two Armoured Personnel Carriers were brought in by the Army. Institutes in the city were shut and the Tibri road leading to the Civil Hospital from Pandher village was cleared of traffic. The hospital was asked to be ready for any eventuality.
Pak has to act if it wants FS-level talks, says govt
Simran Sodhi

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 7
India today put the ball firmly in Pakistan’s court over the scheduled foreign secretary level talks. India made it clear that talks will go ahead only if Pakistan acts on the “actionable intelligence” provided to it.

“The ball is in Pakistan’s court. The immediate issue is Pakistan’s response to the Pathankot attack and actionable intelligence provided to it,” official spokesperson of the ministry of external affairs Vikas Swarup said.

India has provided evidence to Pakistan that the terrorists who attacked the Pathankot Air Force base were constantly in touch with their handlers in Pakistan. The evidence provided by India includes intercepts of phone calls made by the terrorists and the location of the numbers they had called in Pakistan. Sources said India had also identified the alleged handlers and demanded that action be taken against the leadership of Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) before any talks between the two countries can take place.

Swarup said Pakistan had assured India of prompt action against those involved or responsible for the attack. “Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to his Pakistan counterpart Nawaz Sharif, who assured of prompt response,” Swarup said, adding that “we now await prompt and decisive action from the Pakistan Prime Minister”.

While there are still eight days to go before the foreign secretary level talks are held in Islamabad, India seems to be weighing on the decision with each passing day. Sources in the government point out that the government would want the dialogue process to continue but some visible action by Pakistan against the perpetrators would have to be there for the process to continue.
Anti-sub corvette ‘INS Kadmatt’ commissioned
Built indigenously
‘INS Kadmatt’ is country’s second indigenous stealth anti-submarine corvette to be commissioned into the navy

The unique feature of the ship is the high level — about 90 per cent — of indigenisation in its production

The corvette is equipped to fight in nuclear, biological and chemical warfare conditions and has guns, close-in weapon system, heavy weight torpedoes and anti-submarine rockets
Army expresses grief
Jammu, January 7
Northern Army Chief Lt-Gen DS Hooda today expressed grief over the death of Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed.

He said Mufti Mohammad Sayeed’s contribution to Jammu and Kashmir through years of public service would always be remembered.

Lt-Gen DS Hooda conveyed his heartfelt condolences to the members of the bereaved family and prayed for peace to the departed soul. Three commanders — Lt Gen SK Patyal of the Leh-based 14 Corps, Lt Gen SK Dua of the Srinagar-based 15 Corps and Lt Gen RR Nimbhorkar of the Nagrota-based 16 Corps — also expressed grief over the demise of Sayeed. — TNS 

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