Pakistan have been more trigger-happy with Indian aircraft

DNA

Amid the clamour for an Abbotabad-like strike by Indian commandos to eliminate Dawood Ibrahim, a former intelligence officer points out the obvious: the Pakistan army might have missed or hesitated to act against the violation of their air space by US choppers, but they would certainly have been more trigger-happy with Indian aircraft. “The US and Pakistan are on friendly terms and the US military and air force have permission to operate in their territory and air space. India does not enjoy such liberties.”

After Operation Geronimo,Indian Army chief General VK Singh was quick to come out with a statement that has become a talking point: “All arms of the military are competent to carry out such an op.” Indian Air Force chief PV Naik also said that India has the capability to carry out such surgical strikes.
What they don’t spell out are two crucial pre-requisites for such strikes: political will and intelligence. On both counts, we have reason to worry.

Former IAF chief, FH Major, who was the chief of air staff during the 26/11 attack, says our tardy response exposed the lack of command and control of the various agencies participating in the operation. “These are government ops and do not belong only to the military.”

Retired Lt Gen HS Panag, who commanded the army’s Northern Command in J&K, “There are 10 SF battalions apart from NSG and there is also a Special Frontier Force, but there is no Special Forces command. Moreover, our training and equipment are 50% that of US special forces, and we can strike only 50-70 km into Pakistan. Our SF is only used for tactical purposes during war, never strategically for special operations.”

As for gathering intelligence on Dawood, Lt Gen PC Katoch, a Special Forces para-commando who led the SF team in the Golden Temple operation, points out what we’re up against: “The CIA operates as a CTPT (counter terrorism pursuit team) in Pakistan; can India do that?”

The Indian government’s announcement in the late 90s that no intelligence agents would go across the border further limited the options before our agencies. In contrast, Barack Obama announced last year that Special Forces would be deployed in 85 countries. “The US has around 3,000 operatives in Pakistan, whereas India does not have even 300. The CIA is very much at home in Pakistan, something that India can’t achieve,” says AS Dulat, former R&AW chief. Without accurate inputs from the ground, and no access to the kind of satellite imagery available to the US, Indian intelligence would be quite severely handicapped for any covert op inside Pakistan.

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Posted by pilotpaul on May 8 2011. Filed under All News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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