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Nagrota attack: Terrorists' strategy similar to Pathankot, militants used tree to enter army base

Security breaches in and around Indian Army camps, over the past year, have cost us the lives of many soldiers. From Uri to Pathankot and from Samba to Nagrota, militants have brazenly attacked the security forces at the heart of some strategic security bases on the Indian territory. However, security loopholes seem to have taken a toll on the preparedness of our forces.

Now it appears that the recent attack on an army unit, which is located just three km from the Army XVI Corps headquarters in Nagrota was staged on similar lines of the Pathankot attack on the Indian Air Force base, where the failure to secure the camp's perimeter resulted in the massive security breach.

 Nagrota attack: Terrorists strategy similar to Pathankot, militants used tree to enter army base

Security personnel at guard in Jammu's Nagrota district. PTI

Seven army personnel, including two Major-ranked officers were killed in the 29 November Nagrota attack, in which three heavily armed militants stormed into the army complex and started indiscriminate shooting within the officers mess and residential quarters of the army men.

The militants behind the attack reportedly sneaked into the premises from the forest area in its rear, official sources told PTI.

In fact a report by The Indian Express said that the militants climbed atop a tree in the officers’ mess campus alongside the three-metre high perimeter wall to enter the premises.

Even in the case of Pathankot attack, it was revealed that the terrorists had managed to jump into the campus by climbing eucalyptus trees and then using a nylon rope to slide down the perimeter wall, according to The Hindu. Despite this, no thorough fortification of the boundary walls of strategic camps was conducted, The Indian Express report states.

Moreover, just like the Pathankot attack, in Nagrota too, failure to ensure preemptive action despite credible intelligence input is also among the many reasons that compromised security.

According to another report in The Indian Express, intelligence agencies had been targeting the movements of suspected Lashkar-e-Toiba militants in the Indian territory, since at least two weeks ahead of the Nagrota attack. Specific intelligence inputs, warning against an imminent strike on a high-value military target was issued just 10 days before the 29 November attack. Although, the LeT cell tracked by the intelligence agencies was not behind the attack, which was later blamed on Jaish-e-Mohammed, questions were raised as to what security measures were taken in response to the intelligence warnings.

However, responding to this, an army spokesperson told The Indian Express, “The reports generated by intelligence agencies were not specific and covered a large spectrum of targets and locations. Even with reference to intelligence regarding Nagrota attack, no such specific or actionable intelligence was received.” However, the report further claims that RAW further issued a warning just 72 hours ahead of the attack that suspected Jaish militants were active in the region. The warning, undoubtedly were generic and did not point out the specific targets on the radar of the militants, nonetheless, the inputs should have led bases to enhance security in the least.

Currently, the National Investigating Agency is probing the  attacks, while it has already filed a chargesheet against JeM cadres including its chief Masood Azhar in the Pathankot attack case, the agency is seeking to establish how did the terrorists creep into the Indian soil and sustained without detection for so long. Meanwhile, a likely theory floating after the preliminary investigation states that the terrorists could have crawled in through an 80-metre-long tunnel under farm lands to cross the International Border (IB) used for the Samba attack, which occurred on the same day.

With inputs from agencies

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Updated Date: Dec 29, 2016 16:49:24 IST