New Delhi: In January last year, heavily-armed terrorists entered the highly secure Pathankot air force base in Punjab and opened fire, killing seven security men before being shot dead in an 80-hour operation. After investigating what many believed were giant gaps in security, the forces identified 3,000 sensitive bases that need a security revamp and asked for Rs 2,000 crore to execute it.
Not a single rupee has been sanctioned by the government, say sources.
The Defence Ministry doesn't deny it, but sources claim it is waiting for details like the break-up of what each force needs. When such details are in, funds will be allocated from this year's defence budget, they say.
After the Pathankot terror attack, a committee headed by Lieutenant General Phillip Campose submitted a report that identified the most sensitive military facilities for upgraded garrison security. Three members from the Army, one from the Air Force and one Navy officer were part of the deliberations.
The three services estimated a cost of Rs 2,000 crore; the army asked for Rs 1,000 crore as an immediate payout. Fourteen months since Pathankot, the forces are yet to see any of the money.
The army, for its part, has reportedly spent Rs 325 crore from its internal funds to start work such as reinforcing of boundary walls and sentry posts, setting up sensors, cameras, entry barriers and metal detectors at military bases.
Sources say the army has identified all aspects of its plan to upgrade security at its facilities but cannot act on it without funds. So far, the army has carried out a full security audit of all army establishments, finalised multi-level security at its bases, established standard operating procedures for defending its bases and has included family quarters in its broader security plan. The Army plans a multilevel security tier across its bases and facilities with vastly improved perimeter security.
India has charged Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar, his brother Abdul Rauf Asghar and two others of the Pakistan-based terror group for the Pathankot attack.
One of the weak spots, which worked to the terrorists' advantage, was inadequate surveillance along the 24-km perimeter and a 10-foot wall topped by barbed wire.