16 June, 2021

Skivvies & Fatigues

Did the NSA’s ‘civilian’ NSG botch up the Pathankot operation? Would the army have handled it better?

Skivvies & Fatigues

Much before the 168 men of the National Sec­urity Guard (NSG), ordered in by Natio­nal Secur­ity Advisor Ajit Doval, landed at Pathankot air force base in the eve­n­­ing of January 1, the terrorists who struck in the wee hours of the next day were already inside and biding their time. They had scaled the 11 feet high perimeter wall, possibly in separate groups of two and four. While the group of four was in a forested area of the base, the other two who entered—most lik­ely on the intervening night of January 31-1—hid in a truck in the parking area of the base, where scores of vehicles are stationed. They obviously knew beforehand that the vehicles parked in this particular area of the base are not used on a regular basis and they could remain there undetected. Who told them? 

It is these two who emerged later—some time after the Union home minister  had mistakenly declared the operation “finis­hed” on January 2—and re-engaged the tro­­ops from a two-storey building on the base. Some...

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