On November 28, a day before the terror attack at an Army camp in Nagrota which claimed the lives of two officers and five soldiers, the Ministry of Defence had issued guidelines to the three services on security of military camps and installations. These guidelines were part of the recommendations of the Lt General Philip Campose committee report on security of defence installations. The expert committee, headed by retired Vice Chief of Army Staff Lt General Campose, was formed in the aftermath of the terror attack on the Pathankot airbase in January. The report, submitted to Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar in May, contained a three-page set of draft guidelines which were supposed to be issued to the Army, Air Force and Navy within a month.
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Ministry sources told The Indian Express that although Manohar Parrikar had instructed that the guidelines be issued within a month, the six-month delay was due to the extensive consultation process with the stakeholders over the draft notification. The focus on the guidelines was revived in the Ministry after the September 18 Uri terror attack which led to the death of 19 soldiers. These guidelines mainly deal with procedural issues, including training of soldiers to thwart terror attacks, and can be immediately implemented by the three services.
Citing operational reasons, the official spokesperson of the Ministry declined comment on the matter. “The committee’s report is comprehensive and addresses all issues. Now it is for the government to support and facilitate early implementation in an early timeframe,” Lt General Campose told The Indian Express. The report consists of six chapters, with the first chapter highlighting lapses in security at the Pathankot airbase. The second chapter undertakes a review of the existing security mechanisms of military installations, where it clearly states that the responsibility of security of a military unit is of the commanding officer and his own service, and his chain of command.
The third chapter focuses on the use of modern technology to enhance physical security of military installations. This necessitates a large quantum of funds to the defence services, and the report suggested priority of allocation in a phased manner. This is a chapter which is being hotly debated in the Ministry, as it would need additional allocation of funds from the government, and creation of capacity in the services to spend that money.
The fourth chapter reviews the state of Defence Security Corps while the fifth chapter recommends an independent external security audit of all defence installations. The recommendation of an external security audit has been objected to by the three services who wish to undertake such audits internally. The last chapter of the Campose report contains the summary of recommendations.
Meanwhile, Army sources said an inquiry into Tuesday’s terror attack at Nagrota will be undertaken after the mopping operations conclude. But the sources reiterated that no specific intelligence about the terror attack was made available to the Army by any of the agencies.
Sources maintained that holding the Army solely responsible for the terror attack is unfair since other security agencies are responsible for the security of the international border and the area between the border and the Nagrota camp.