Parliamentary panel raps Centre over attack on defence establishments

Last Updated: Tue, Mar 13, 2018 20:26 hrs
PM Modi

New Delhi: A parliamentary panel on Tuesday rapped the government over repeated terror attacks on defence establishments and raised concern over their perimeter security, giving example of an attack on Sunjuwan Army camp in Jammu and Kashmir.

In one of the seven reports tabled in Parliament on Tuesday, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Defence, headed by Bharatiya Janata Party MP Major General B.C. Khanduri (retd), asked the government to "go beyond ad hoc measures".

"The Committee are, however, perturbed to find that such incidences have become a recurring affair. The recent terror attack on Sunjuwan Army camp in Kashmir on February 10, wherein families of soldiers were targeted, is a fresh reminder that substantial efforts need to be made on part of the government. This is the latest in a series of attacks on military installations witnessed over the last few years," the report said.

The panel said it is "particularly worrisome" that the terrorists are repeatedly being successful in infiltrating high-security military complexes.

"The Sunjuwan attack exposes the vulnerabilities in 'perimeter security' and the scant progress made in improving the security protocols since the attack on the Pathankot Air Force station in January 2016. Following the Pathankot incident, there have been major attacks in Uri, Handwara, Nagrota, and Panzgam, all of which involved a substantial number of casualties."

In a scathing comment, the committee said it took a series of attacks and numerous casualties to raise the brows and delegation of power for spending Rs 14,097 crore for strengthening perimeter security.

"But for the attack, it's quite possible that funds for strengthening perimeter security may not have been sanctioned for quite some time to come," the panel said.

Expressing unhappiness over the state of affairs, the panel said the Sunjuwan attack "underscores the need for speedy measures, which go beyond inquiries and policy announcements, so as to overhaul the security system".

"The implementation needs to be broad-based, and go beyond ad-hoc measures," it said.

The panel said that while the Defence Ministry had delegated powers to the Vice Chief of Army Staff to spend a little over Rs 14,000 crore towards security-related issues, there is no separate allocation made in this regard.

The panel urged the government to consider creation of a separate head of account for installation or hiring of security-related equipment and technology, and said the provisions made in the 2018-19 Budget "do not reciprocate the seriousness required towards meeting perimeter security".

"Therefore, the committee urge the Ministry of Defence to implement the afore-mentioned measures in order to strengthen the security of various military establishments across the country. The establishments include cantonment areas, institutions, living quarters etc belonging to the three defence services, viz. the Army, Navy and Air Force," the report said.

Six soldiers and one civilian were killed in February when a group of terrorists attacked the Sunjwan military station during wee hours of March 10. Three terrorists were killed and arms, ammunition and other material seized from them revealed they owed allegiance to Jaish-e-Mohammad.

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