Accept bungling in Pathankot, CPI-M tells government

New Delhi, Jan 7 (IANS) The government must accept “bungling” in the response to the terror attack on the IAF base in Pathankot and conduct “a proper probe”, the CPI-M has said.

At the same time, the Communist Party of India-Marxist also urged the government to stick to its proposed talks with Pakistan, saying a reversal “will only cramp India’s strategic options”.

Six terrorists believed to be from Pakistan sneaked into Punjab and raided the Indian Air Force base, killing seven security personnel. All six attackers were killed by security forces.

“The (Narendra) Modi government must accept that there has been bungling which raises various disturbing questions,” said an editorial in the CPI-M journal “People’s Democracy”.

“The government should not stand on prestige; it must acknowledge the shortcomings and conduct a proper probe so that such mistakes do not recur again.”

The editorial said what was urgently required was a review “of the muddled and unfocussed response to the terrorist action”.

Pointing out that some security experts had called it a debacle, it said: “There are a number of questions which have arisen about the whole operation.”

It wanted to know how, despite sufficient warning about the attack, the heavily armed terrorists penetrated the outer perimeter of the sprawling complex and enter it.

“Why was the army not called in for combing operations, especially since there is a big army base in Pathankot?

“The defence of the perimeter was left to the Defence Security Corps jawans, consisting of retired military personnel. It is they who suffered the maximum casualties.

“There seems to have been no proper coordination between the various agencies and forces,” it added.

“The home minister declared the operation over and successful after the first day and had to withdraw his tweet subsequently. This speaks of the inept way the whole operation has been conducted.”

The CPI-M urged the Modi government to stay on course and not let the “extremist-jihadi groups call the shots.

“The Pathankot incident, in fact, strengthens the government’s hand when it takes up terrorism on the agenda in the talks.

“It underlines the continuing failure of the Pakistani state to deal with those jihadi groups which have the patronage of sections of the intelligence and security establishment.

“Any reversal will only cramp India’s strategic options and resumption of confrontation will debilitate India’s economic recovery and progress,” the editorial said.

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