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Attack on Nagrota army base exposes major security, intelligence failures

The attack was the second in as many months since the siege of another army base at Uri left 19 Indian soldiers dead, spiking tensions between India and Pakistan. The deaths of Indian security personnel also have mounted – 60 have been killed this year, almost double the number last year.

india Updated: Nov 30, 2016 17:32 IST
Ravi Krishnan Khajuria
Indian Army soldiers take position during a gun battle with armed militants at an army base at Nagrota, some 15 km from Jammu, on Tuesday.
Indian Army soldiers take position during a gun battle with armed militants at an army base at Nagrota, some 15 km from Jammu, on Tuesday.(AFP)

A brazen militant attack on an army base in Nagrota near Jammu had exposed major security and intelligence failures, a top defence source admitted on Wednesday, a day after the strike killed seven soldiers.

The source said the militants – who were dressed as policemen – were well trained in guerilla warfare and caused major damage at the base, which houses several important units including those patrolling the Line of Control.

“The damage has been done. We lost seven soldiers. Those at the helm of affairs seriously need to look into lapses that led to this attack and immediately take reconciliatory measures,” the source added.“The responsibility of the Nagrota attack also needs to be fixed and followed by stern action under rules.”

The attack was the second in as many months since the siege of another army base at Uri left 19 Indian soldiers dead, spiking tensions between India and Pakistan. The deaths of Indian security personnel also have mounted – 60 have been killed this year, almost double the number last year.

“Just at the mouth of Jammu city, an attack on Nagrota Cantonment that houses headquarters of 16 Corps, ammunition depots, artillery units and several other army utilities is certainly a serious security and intelligence failure,” said the source.

The route taken by the militants isn’t known yet.

“It seems they might have had come from Kashmir, deliberately avoided the Northern Command headquarters in Udhampur and travelled all the way to Nagrota and chose 166 medium regiment at the fag end of Nagrota Cantonment,” he said.

The source , however, said that the possibility of attackers crossing the International Border from Samba and Jammu-Pathankot highway and then covering all the distance till Nagrota army camp looked remote.

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