The Indian Army has rescued 16 hostages, including 12 soldiers and four civilians, from the Nagrota camp that was attacked by three militants on Tuesday, dna reported. Security personnel resumed combing operations on Wednesday morning after hours of a gunfight with the militants, who were holed up in the officers’ mess complex on Tuesday.
Seven soldiers were killed in the attack, and all three militants were shot dead in retaliatory firing.
This is the third time that militants have attacked a military establishment this year. An Army installation in Kashmir’s Uri sector was attacked by militants on September 18, in which 19 soldiers were killed. Before that, seven soldiers were killed and 25 others were injured when militants attacked an Indian Air Force base in Pathankot on January 2. Such frequent militant attacks on Army camps have raised concerns about the security at military bases.
An active Lashkar-e-Taiba cell in Kashmir has been under the lens of intelligence units for the past two weeks, according to The Indian Express. They believed that the militants were planning an attack on the XVI Corps headquarters in Nagrota. Ten days ago, the intelligence services had warned that militants might attack high-value military targets in Jammu, the newspaper claimed quoting unidentified sources. However, the news report went on to say that the attack was not carried out by the LeT cell in the Valley.
A committee of Army, Navy and Air Force officials was formed to look into loopholes in security arrangements at military bases after the Pathankot attack. The panel, led by former Army chief Lieutenant General Philip Campose (retired), had suggested several measures to improve security. An unidentified source told The Times of India that the panel submitted its report in Mid-May, but that few concrete steps have been taken so far, besides some general discussions with the three defence service headquarters, “which in turn have carried out some security audits of their bases”.
Jammu and Kashmir Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh has blamed Pakistan for Tuesday’s attack. “It is Pakistan’s desperation but it won’t succeed as India is not a weak country to be affected by it,” Singh said. Relations between Islamabad and Delhi have worsened following the Indian Army’s surgical strikes on militant camps along the Line of Control on September 29.