Easy access to images of vital installations, including the Halwara airbase, on the internet has raised questions about their safety. The terrorists who attacked the Pathankot airbase are suspected to have used online maps to get a clear idea of their target.
Detailed pictures of the Halwara air force station, located about 35km from here, are available on the internet. Satellite images show 10 fighter jets parked inside the airbase, besides the runway and internal roads. The route leading to the technical area, where the aircraft are stationed, are also visible. A closer scrutiny of the images also provides detailed information of bunkers, hangars and other infrastructure inside the airbase.
Intelligence sources said a report of these images being available on the internet had been sent to the Union ministry of defence a few months ago.
Colonel K Christopher (retd), who was stationed in Pathankot in 1997, said the government could not do much to remove these images from the internet. “The images can be used by terrorists to find ways of entering these high-security areas,” he added.
The ammunition depot at Baddowal and other cantonment areas in the city can also be seen in Google satellite images.