SEEKING to counter the criticism of the NSG-led operation against the terrorist infiltration and attack at Pathankot airbase, the GOC-in-C, Western Command, Lt Gen K J Singh Wednesday called the operation a “complete success” and said it was an example of the “excellent synergy” among the forces.
A day after the operation ended with questions about the necessity of deploying the NSG, and confusion in the command structure during the operation due to presence of multiple agencies, Singh said “Operation Dhangu Suraksha” (Dhangu is the name of the village where the airbase and other defence facilities are located) had been a “complete success. I say that because all our strategic air assets are safe, not harmed, not touched. The airbase remained operational throughout this operation. That means sorties that were meant to be launched for surveillance, communication, evacuation — all could be launched”.
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Lt Gen Singh defended the NSG deployment and sought to convey that the decision was not a solo flight by National Security Adviser (NSA) Ajit Doval.
“Deployment of NSG was a joint decision taken at an appropriate level, which included the service chiefs. Because there were strategic assets located here, and there could have been a hostage situation, NSG is specially trained for that. It is a success of this operation that airbase was operational. God forbid, if the airbase had not been operational, how would have we brought the NSG there? That was the main reason that the NSG was inducted prior to the operation to prevent and tackle the hostage situation”.
Lt Gen K J Singh admitted that the first alert about possible terrorist infiltration had come during a joint meeting of law and security enforcement agencies on December 30 from the Joint Director, Intelligence Bureau.
Replying to the queries pertaining to over-90 hours taken to kill the terrorists, Lt Gen Singh said, “You need to use the stop-watch method here. The total point of contact with the terrorists was about 10-11 hours. Rest of the time was utilised by us for the combing and sanitisation of the area”.