Pathankot attack: Head of air base, JS Dhamoon takes premature retirement

Pathankot attack: Head of air base, JS Dhamoon takes premature retirement”

Since the CoI is yet to be formally concluded even after a year, officials in the defence ministry and the IAF remained tight-lipped on the findings of the probe.

Air Commodore J S Dhamoon, who was the commander of the frontline Pathankot airbase when it was stormed by Jaish-e-Muhammed terrorists in January previous year, has resigned after an IAF inquiry allegedly indicted him and others for failure of command and control as well as several security lapses during the attack.

The inquiry has further said that if the IAF Garud Commandos had been able to pin down the attackers, five Defence Security Corps personnel could have been saved.

The inquiry was ordered after Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in a meeting with top security officials, expressed his displeasure and concern over the manner in which terrorist stormed the airbase. The then Commander of the Air Force Station J.S. Dhamoon, who has been named in the inquiry, has taken Pre-mature Retirement (PMR) on his own accord.

The government had asked a reluctant IAF to conduct a proper court of inquiry (COI) into the January 2 terror attack, during which the security forces had taken nearly three days to kill the four heavily-armed terrorists while losing seven of their own personnel, to pinpoint lapses by different officers in the forward airbase near the border with Pakistan. The IAF, which initially hadn't ordered an inquiry, was forced to order one. Besides, some IAF officers and soldiers are also likely to lose their seniority as a punishment for not following procedure, the India Today reported on Tuesday.

Shockingly the route used by the terrorist to enter the airbase was flagged-up as a "vulnerable point" a few months prior to the attack. The report observed that the security personnel at the airbase had not noticed personal items and food left behind by the militants at the base despite being provided intelligence of the attack beforehand. "The process goes through various levels before it is accepted and any recommended action is implemented", an IAF source said.

The undergrowth provided cover to the terrorists, who climbed a tree to gain access into the airbase, thereby avoiding the barbed wires installed on the perimeter wall. It also pointed out that the standard operating procedures to secure installations had been violated - guard posts were not properly maintained and flood lights and other systems were not functioning properly. The letter sent to 12000 officers of the IAF said that there was no room for slackness in the force.

Terrorist stormed the frontline fighter base of the Indian Air Force (IAF) in Occupied Kashmir on January 2 past year. As a result, it has now been chose to deploy them in counter-insurgency operations in Jammu and Kashmir to gain experience.

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