Updated: August 7, 2015 9:42:03 am
The Pentagon is likely to fly in specialists to help the Ministry of Defence dismantle a night vision device (NVD) recovered from terrorists who struck in Dinanagar, Gurdaspur on July 27.
Sources said that on Tuesday night, the Ministry of Defence, through the Indian military attaché in Washington DC, supplied the Pentagon with a photograph and the external serial number of the NVD. Acknowledging it was an AN/PVS-14 NVD, the Pentagon sought specific inputs to confirm the authenticity, origin and last known usage of the device.
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In Punjab, sources said information about markings on the NVD had been shared with American officials who, in turn, were taking it up with their agencies.
On July 28, a day after the Gurdaspur attack, Additional DGP (GRP) Rohit Chaudhary had confirmed the recovery of a night vision device with markings. He declined to comment on whether India would seek US assistance to investigate the device trail.
Sources in the Ministry of Defence said US technical help will be needed to open the device and provide specific inputs to the Pentagon. The US is likely to fly in specialist technicians to disassemble the NVD which will then provide access to the descriptive number engraved on the image intensifier tube. While the external serial number is indicative of the NVD being of US military origin, only the authoritative number on the image intensifier will confirm the details the government wants.
Before accepting the Pentagon’s offer to fly in technicians, the Ministry of Defence will need possession of the NVD which is currently with the Punjab Police, probing the Gurdaspur attack.
Designed by ITT Corporation in 2000, the AN/PVS-14 NVD is a rugged, lightweight and versatile device with a range of up to 350 metres at night. It is mostly used as a hands-free device by mounting on the head, and is likely to have helped the Gurdaspur attack terrorists in detecting and avoiding security forces at night. While it is commercially available at most popular e-commerce sites, US government authorisation and licensing is required for selling NVDs to overseas buyers.
The AN/PVS-14 NVD has been used by the US military in Afghanistan and Iraq. Many containers of US military equipment passing through Pakistan have been stolen since 2002 and US military gear has been freely available at many places in that country. Moreover, the Taliban also got access to some US military equipment from US and NATO troops killed in Afghanistan.
This is not the first time that the Ministry of Defence and Pentagon will cooperate to ascertain details of military equipment, purported to be of US military origin, captured from militants in India. In 2012, a US standard army M16 rifle, with markings, was captured from Maoists in Jharkhand. Once India supplied the serial number and other details, the Pentagon was able to confirm that part of that weapon came from a rifle lost by a US soldier in Vietnam while the rest of the weapon was machined and fabricated at non-industrial workshops.
Sources told The Indian Express that the Pentagon had very promptly provided a detailed note on each part of that rifle to help allay doubts. The Pentagon has a blanket offer for the government on sharing details of all weapons and equipment captured from terrorists in India for a detailed analysis, but the Indian side has not been keen on taking up the offer unless the equipment is of US origin, sources said.
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