IAF or­ders shoot-on-sight to shield its western front bases

AF­TER PATHANKOT More than 20 front-line air­bases put on high alert fol­low­ing a se­cu­rity au­dit

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - HT NAVI MUMBAI - Rahul Singh rahul.singh@hin­dus­tan­times.com

The air force has is­sued shoot- on- sight or­ders against in­trud­ers at more than 20 of its front-line bases in the western sec­tor af­ter Pak­istani ter­ror­ists at­tacked the Pathankot air­base in Jan­uary, a se­nior IAF of­fi­cer said on Wed­nes­day.

The de­ci­sion to place the air­bases on high alert has been taken af­ter the IAF re­cently con­ducted a com­pre­hen­sive se­cu­rity au­dit of its vi­tal in­stal­la­tions.

“Se­cu­rity per­son­nel at bases un­der the op­er­a­tionally-crit­i­cal Western Air Com­mand have been or­dered to shoot down in­trud­ers with­out warn­ing. Un­der or­di­nary cir­cum­stances a warn­ing would have been is­sued,” the of­fi­cer said.

Air­bases at A van­tip ur, Sri­na­gar, Adampur, Hal­wara, Chandi­garh, Am­bala and Hindon are among those put on high alert. Six Pak­istani ter­ror­ists had stormed the 18 Wing fighter base in Pathankot on Jan­uary 2 with the in­ten­tion to de­stroy topline mil­i­tary hard­ware such as Rus­sian-ori­gin MiG-21 fight­ers and a mix of Mi-25 and Mi-35 at­tack he­li­copters han­gared there. Sev­ern sol­diers were killed in the pre-dawn strike that ex­posed se­cu­rity gaps, forc­ing the air force to do a safety au­dit.

The au­dit iden­ti­fied 54 vi­tal bases where se­cu­rity will be up­graded at a cost of more than Rs 8,000 crore. “Pathankot has been a learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. We plan to tap smart tech­nolo­gies avail­able glob­ally for perime­ter pro­tec­tion of huge bases,” the IAF of­fi­cer re­vealed.

He said the 54 air­bases would get smart fences, vi­bra­tion de­tec­tion sys­tems, mini-drones, ther­mal cam­eras and night vi­sion equip­ment to de­tect tres­passers and re­spond swiftly in case of an at­tempted breach. “The govern­ment is back­ing our plan. We want to fast-track its im­ple­men­ta­tion.” A three-star of­fi­cer is head­ing the com­mit­tee mon­i­tor­ing the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the mea­sures.

CON­TIN­UED ON P12

RE­LATED RE­PORTS, P12

MIXED FEEL­ING ON THIS

PRO­POSAL, P14

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