The government is yet to sanction a single rupee for fortifying military bases across the country, notwithstanding the demand by the three services for Rs 2,000 crore to plug the gaps in their security in the wake of the Pathankot terror attack. A total of 3,000 sensitive bases, including 600 highly sensitive installations of the Army, Navy and the Air Force were identified by the forces months after the daring attack on Pathankot air base. We had sought Rs 2,000 crore from the government to revamp the security infrastructure at the bases and installations. But the government is yet to give a single rupee, sources in the armed forces said.
The Army has already spent Rs 325 crore from its “internal” funds on building boundary walls, sentry posts, and installing security cameras and sensors, they said. Defence ministry sources, however, said armed forces will have to spend money on revamping the security infrastructure from funds allocated in the defence budget. They said previous defence minister Manohar Parrikar had decentralised powers and authorised local commanders to spend money on such projects.
The armed forces had together sought Rs 2,000 crore to strengthen security infrastructure at all “highly sensitive, sensitive and moderately sensitive bases” during the current and next financial year. A security audit of defence bases was carried out on the recommendation of a committee headed by Lt Gen Philip Campose which was set up after the terror attack on the forward Pathankot Air Force base last year. The committee was asked to recommend measures to beef up security at the military bases.
The sources said following the security audit, revised standard operating precedures (SOPs) were sent to the commands of all three services to revamp their security management, including putting in place a multi-tier security structure. A parliamentary panel had in March come down hard on the defence ministry for failing to take any concrete measures to beef up security at frontline military bases, and said the scenario is as “vulnerable” as has been “exposed” during the Uri and Pathankot terror attacks. The Campose Committee had submitted its report to Defence Ministry last May.
The parliamentary panel had said security arrangements at military establishments were dynamic in nature and called for maintaining a robust and strong response mechanism to emerging threats.