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Posted at: Feb 3, 2016, 7:54 PM; last updated: Feb 3, 2016, 7:54 PM (IST)PATHANKOT ATTACK FALLOUT

IAF bases in Western sector on alert; shoot-at-sight orders issued

IAF bases in Western sector on alert; shoot-at-sight orders issued
Indian Air Force personnel stand on the roof of a building at the Pathankot base on January 4, 2016. — AFP

New Delhi, February 3

The Indian Air Force has issued shoot-at-sight orders against anyone attempting to scale the walls of the bases under sensitive Western Air Command in the backdrop of the terror attack on the Pathankot air base in Punjab.

“All bases in the Western Air Command have been put on high alert. Shoot-at-sight orders have been issued against anyone attempting to enter the base by scaling the perimeter wall or through unauthorised access,” a senior IAF officer said.

The IAF has also asked the government to strictly impose the ban against construction within 100 metres of any air base and within 900 metres of its ammunition depot.

Replying to queries about an insider possibly having had a role in the Pathankot attack, he said that the NIA was investigating this angle but a preliminary probe by IAF has not found anything to substantiate such a suspicion.

Describing the Pathankot attack as a “learning experience”, the official said that IAF is in the process of finalising a Rs 8,000-crore comprehensive security proposal for its 54 main flying bases in the country.

That will include smart perimeter intrusion system, CCTVs, motion detectors, quadro drones, among other things. The cost will come to about Rs 100-150 crore per base, he said.

The officer said, “These proposals were already in the pipeline. Because of financial constraints, we are doing it in a phased manner. Our first focus was to protect the main assets and then move to the perimeter wall.” He said the government has told the IAF that there will be no financial constraints for these works.

“The proposal is being prepared. We hope to get it going as soon as possible,” he said, adding that the IAF is fast-tracking the process.

The IAF has completed a special audit of all its 950 flying and non-flying establishments.

He said two teams from the Directorate of Air Staff carried out the audit of the bases.

“No major weaknesses were found in the audit,” he said, adding that similar audits are conducted every six months.

The official explained that no two air bases were the same and the IAF will put in place a customised security system for each.

Asked whether the Western air bases will be given priority, he said that even the bases in the Eastern sector are under threat and modernisation would be done on the basis of threat perception.

The IAF would also be raising more Garud commandos and the perimeter wall would continue to be manned by personnel of the Defence Security Corps, he said.

The official added that another priority was to remove encroachments around the bases. — PTI

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