Pathankot IAF base still vulnerable : House panel

The Indian Air Force base in Pathankot that came under attack from Pakistan-based terrorists continues to remain highly unsafe, a parliamentary panel probing the 2 January terrorist attack said on Tuesday, and called for urgent steps to strengthen its security.

''Even today, there are very unsafe conditions at the Pathankot airbase,'' Parliament's Standing Committee on Home Affairs led by Congress MP from Rajya Sabha P Bhattacharya said

''Pathankot airbase's security cover was not robust and had a poorly guarded perimeter wall'', the committee noted while urging the government at the centre to take appropriate steps to fix the loopholes.

''Something is seriously wrong with the country's counter-terror security establishment,'' the panel stressed, adding that if the government was serious and intelligence agencies functioned properly, the picture would've been different.

The panel, which interacted with the officers posted at the Indian Air Force Base, however, failed to establish how Pakistan-based terrorists managed to sneak inside the IAF base.

The committee said it was unable to understand how terrorists managed to reach Pathankot airbase in spite of early warnings of terror threat.

Despite "concrete and credible intelligence inputs, the security agencies of our country are ill-prepared to anticipate threats in time and counter them swiftly," the committee said in its report.

The panel also failed to establish how the "terrorists managed to breach a high security air base and could launch an attack despite an advance alert."

''We had a long interaction with officers at the Pathankot airbase. They said that there was no information that the airbase will be attacked, '' ANI quoted Bhattacharya as saying.

The panel urged the centre to take its findings seriously and take immediate steps to fix the gaps in the security apparatus.

The panel had earlier asked the centre to explain the Pathankot terror attack and the steps taken by it in the aftermath of the incident.

In the 31-member House panel has 13 BJP members, four Congress MPs, three MPs fom the AIADMK, two MPs each from BJD and Trinamool Congress and one MP each from CPI-M, CPI, SP, TRS, TDP, Shiromani Akali Dal and Shiv Sena.

Meanwhile, replying to questions, minister of state for home affairs Kiren Rijiju informed the Lok Sabha that the government has adopted a multi-pronged approach, which include construction of fencing, floodlighting, border outposts, induction of latest surveillance equipments like hand held thermal imager, long range recce observation system, nightvision goggle/devices, etc in order to curb infiltration from Indo-Pakistan border.

Besides, he said, the government has also decided to deploy technological solutions in the form of integration of radars, sensors, cameras, communication networks and command and control solutions in various difficult terrains where fencing could not be installed.

The government has decided to launch pilot project of 30-40 km (approx.) in Punjab Frontier on Indo-Pakistan border. It has also sanctioned a pilot project for deployment of technological solutions on two patches (5 km each) in Jammu frontier, the minister said, adding that procurement process has been initiated and the global tender enquiry along with request for proposal (RFP) has been issued.