Punjab Congress chief Captain Amarinder Singh on Thursday attacked the government over what he alleged “mishandling” of the Pathankot operation, and questioned the deployment of National Security Guard (NSG) instead of the army, which he said is better trained in counter-insurgency operations.
“Even after the passage of seven days nobody is sure whether all militants have been flushed out or not”, he remarked while pointing out, “we are as unsure and uncertain about the situation today as we were on the day one of the attack,” said Amarinder in a statement.
“By bringing in the NSG, instead of the army which has better training and expertise in counter-insurgency exercises, those at the helm may have certainly glamourised the operation, but they have ended up with more loss of lives of our soldiers”, the former Punjab chief minister, who has served in the army for 10 years and took part in 1965 war against Pakistan, said.
“Thanks to the total mishandling of the situation, we have, by default, served the purpose of the perpetrators by allowing the operation to last unusually for a longer duration,” he said, adding, “besides it got them prolonged media attention which was the main purpose of those who conceived and executed it”.
Amarinder also disagreed with the Western Command chief Lt Gen KJ Singh that it was right to deploy the NSG to flush out militants instead of army troops. The Lt Gen appeared to be defending the government decision for the obvious reasons of being a disciplined soldier, said Amarinder.
“Even former army chief General VP Malik and other retired generals have been on record saying that the army could have handled the situation better,” he pointed out.
The former chief minister pointed out, the NSG commandos are effective where the targets are identified such as hostages or hijacking. “The NSG has no experience in the counter-insurgency operations”, he said, adding that army is best trained and experienced in counter-insurgency operations as compared to the NSG.
He added that for last 25 years the army has been engaged in counter-insurgency operations in Kashmir with great success with minimum loss of life.
“They have got training, experience and expertise and they would certainly have done a better job, in shorter duration and more likely with less loss of life”, he said.