The Daily Fix: As Pathankot operation winds down, questions about whether it was mishandled
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The Latest: Top stories of the day

1. Pathankot attack: Sanitising operations continue at air force base on Day 3.

2. US expects that Pakistan will take action against Pathankot attackers.

3. Siege near Indian consulate in Afghanistan ends.

4. China’s Communist Party reinforces ban on superstition.

5. Barack Obama takes gun control measures into his own hands.

The Big Story: Botched counterterrorism

After three days of gunbattles, security forces have killed five terrorists at the Pathankot Air Force Station, reported the Indian Express.

“The operations are still going on,” said Major General Dushant Singh of the National Security Guard. “We have been able to eliminate the fifth terrorist. Combing and search operations continue.”

Given the earlier (premature) declaration by Home Minister Rajnath Singh that the operation was a success, the authorities are now being cautious about calling an end to operations.

However, questions are now being raised as to whether the Modi government botched up the Pathankot operation. Defence policy expert Ajai Shukla wrote in the Business Standard,“National Security Advisor Ajit Doval’s inept handling has transformed what should have been a short, intelligence-driven, counter-terrorist operation into something that increasingly seems like a debacle”

Shukla contends that it was a mistake to use the Defence Security Corps, composed of retired military veterans, and the National Security Guard, which is not trained to protect a sprawling air base. Mistakenly, the army which “flushes militants out of large forests every day in Jammu & Kashmir, was given a peripheral role”, writes Shukla resulting in avoidable loss of life. Unequipped to handle armed terrorists, the Defence Security Corps took most of the causalities while not a single Pathankot casualty was from the army.

In the Times of India, Santosh Desai points out that “so many people lost their lives after having concrete advance warning of many kinds is quite inexplicable”.

Former RAW Chief A S Dulat questioned why the security agencies could not thwart the attack in spite of having advance warning. “Generally intelligence agencies get the flak but here is a case when you had a pinpointed intelligence and still you could not make it. Why?” he said. “How can the terrorists enter so easily without getting noticed and that too with such a huge quantity of ammunition? Are the terrorists also paying their way through like the drug cartels? These questions need an early answer.”

The Big Scroll

Rohan Venkatramakrishnan lists the eight crucial unanswered questions about the Pathankot terror attack, while Ajaz Ashraf argues that Pakistan must be made to pay a price for the repeated assaults.

Politicking and policying

1. Yashwant Sinha defies party line and attacks Centre over its talks with Pakistan.

2. Former finance minister, P Chidambaram’s wife has been named in the Saradha scam chargesheet.

3. Atmospheric factors cause pollutants to rise, even as Delhi’s Odd-Even scheme goes of smoothly on Monday.

4. The Supreme Court will seriously examine the plea to ban “Santa-Banta” jokes.


1. India must continue to talk to Pakistan and ensure that terrorism is part of the talks, saysDC Pathak in the Indian Express.

2. Hybrid varieties have spurred growth in the production and productivity of maize pointsout Surinder Sud in the Business Standard. Improvements in the economics of its cultivation bode well for India.

3. India’s fiscal policy is anti-growth. Can this government fix that, asks Ashok Desia in theTelegraph.

Don’t Miss

Dhirendra k Jha on what explains Modi’s last-minute snub to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh wing at the Indian Science Congress:

Officials in the RSS, however, viewed Modi’s decision not to honour Vijnana Bharati at the Indian Science Congress as yet another indication of the strain in the prime minister’s relationship with his party’s patron body. Since the Assembly elections in Bihar, there has been persistent talk of tension between the prime minister and the RSS intensifying.

Such are said to be the differences that neither Modi nor RSS chief Mohan Bhagawat is likely to attend the BJP-RSS coordination committee meeting slated to be held after January 14 this year. Many of the contentious issues related to the Modi government are likely to come up for discussion in the meeting.