Pattern of the Pathankot attack is almost similar as that of 26/11, said Brigadier (Rtd) Govind Singh Sisodia, the former DIG who led the NSG operation during the Mumbai attacks. Six terrorists who attacked the Pathankot Air Force base were killed while security forces lost seven of its men.
“The terrorists came in two groups – one went into action to attack the targets or inflict casualties while other took to hiding. Almost similar tactics were adopted by two terrorist groups that was involved in the Akhnoor attack. One kept silent as first went into the action. Later the second group came out and attacked an officer. I wonder how the security agencies and army failed to visualise the pattern of two earlier of a similar kind – Mumbai and Akhnoor attacks. They also did not take pro-active protection measures at Pathankot airforce base station,” he said.
Speaking to The Indian Express over phone from Mumbai, the Brigadier said that unlike Mumbai attack, the security forces and army had an advantage since there was prior inputs. “Yet this advantage was not encashed. This is a very sad part of the whole tragedy.”
The former DIG agreed that there was a lack of coordination and no lessons have been learnt from previous attacks planned and executed from Pakistan. Brigadier Sisodia recalled that the agencies involved in the operation had another advantage unlike Mumbai attack. “They had used the cell phone only once before the attack at the Air Force base station. During Mumbai attack they were being guided by their handlers in Pakistan thus it took a lot of time to pin them down or neutralise the terrorists.”
Could the attack been averted? The Brigadier said, “Yes, because there were specific inputs. Additional trained manpower of the army could have been immediately deployed creating a multi-layered protection (perimeter) wall and deploying more men. .”
The former DIG, who hails from Chopal area of Himachal Pradesh, said that the jawans and officers who made their supreme sacrifice for the nation have done a heroic job. “My heart goes out for them as they gave a befitting reply to the terrorists and killed them before attaining martyrdom,” he said.