India beefs up security at its air bases to pre-empt terror

BANGALORE - Against the backdrop of a deadly assault on a Pakistani military base, India is fortifying its air bases to improve their security and pre-empt any terror attack from within or outside the country, a top military commander said on Wednesday.


Published: Fri 17 Jun 2011, 12:22 AM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 10:33 PM

“The (May 22) terror attack on Pakistan Navy air base at Mehran in Karachi was a wake-up call. In light of the incident, we are taking measures to improve security at all air bases across the country on top priority,” the Indian Air Force (IAF) chief, Air Chief Marshal P.V. Naik, told reporters here on the margins of a conference here. As the world’s fourth largest air force after the US, Russia and China, the IAF has 60 operational air bases across the country under seven commands, with 170,000 personnel and 1,600 aircraft of different types, including fighters, transports and helicopters.

“Prior to the Karachi incident, we started a security audit and instituted measures to strengthen security in and around our air bases. As Kashmir’s priority is greater, we have taken up fortifying the air bases in the western sector first as it is closer to Pakistan. Security at bases in the south, east and other regions will be beefed up in phases,” Naik said.

In one of the deadliest terror strikes by suspected Taleban militants on a Pakistan military base, about 20 people were killed, including 14 security personnel and four terrorists. The IAF has also initiated measures to train its personnel for internal security duties as each base and its periphery is different.

“Security will be stepped up based on the threat perception. For instance, the threat level at Yelahanka base (in Bangalore) and Bidar base (in north Karnataka) may be higher compared to Hakimpet base (in Hyderabad). Each base will make its own appreciation and appraisal,” Naik pointed out after addressing commanders of the Training Command here.

“After the assessment, we will seek government approval for purchasing security equipment and installing at the bases. The exercise also involves training our personnel and creating awareness among the public, which can help us in being vigilant and respond quickly whenever and wherever a threat emanates,” Naik, who retires July-end noted. In the context of the security scenario and tension prevailing in the South Asian region, especially in the western negibourhood, Naik asserted that the IAF was prepared to thwart any nefarious designs and threats arising from the enemies of the state and fully capable of facing any challenges.

“We remain committed and prepared to thwart any nefarious designs and threats arising from the enemies of the state. As an emerging strategic aerospace force, we are fully capable of facing any challenge,” Naik said. Noting that the IAF had embarked on a major modernisation plan, Naik said its major acquisitions and upgradations would give the air force a set of capabilities for meeting all perceived threats head-on. The IAF is also training its next generation force to absorb the latest technologies so as to maximise exploitation of its weapon systems, Naik said.

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