SRINAGAR: The drone attack at the Indian Air Force station in Jammu is a serious breach of security as it was able to penetrate deep inside the air base, security and defence experts said. The IAF was caught off-guard even though the issue of drones carrying and delivering loads have been a matter of concern for some time, they said. Pakistani troops have been using drones to airdrop weapons for militants along the International Border and Line of Control in J&K since last year.
The attack has come as a challenge to the security agencies as it has once again exposed the vulnerability of government installations in J&K. “The use of drones to drop explosives at Jammu airbase poses a serious challenge to the security forces,” former Northern Command chief Lt-Gen (Retd) Deepender Singh Hooda said.
Several officers felt our security was caught off-guard and lacked intelligence about the enemy’s capacity. “If the enemy has acquired this capability and is able to penetrate and scoot after delivering the payload, it is dangerous. It also means the enemy can execute such an attack anywhere,” said an officer.
Brigadier (Retd) Anil Gupta said the drone attack has made it clear that all the security and government installations in J&K continue to remain vulnerable. “If the drone was having GPS and if it was shot down, then security agencies can know where it came from. However, if it was a self-destructive one, then it would be difficult to find where it came from and if the drone has gone back, then it is a shame as it has infiltrated and exfiltrated both,” he said.
Taking a dig at the security apparatus, Gupta said “It was a moonlit night…It is a high security zone and there are radars available. It is the failure of surveillance. Why didn’t the BSF men at the border and the security men in the hinterlands detect it? Why didn’t the IAF personnel manning the observation posts at IAF station detect and shoot it down?”
According to Gupta, there is a possibility that militants infiltrating from Pakistan might have got these drones and used them on the IAF station. “If it is so, then it is a dangerous trend,” he said. Lt-Gen (Retd) Hooda said defending military installations from drone attacks is very difficult. Countering these tactics will require new counter measures, both in terms of strategy and technical equipment to detect and neutralise the drones. Former J&K DGP SP Vaid questioned what was the purpose of India-Pakistan ceasefire if such attacks take place.