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'Terrorists are targeting security establishments'

January 02, 2016 11:41 IST

'My fear is that if Gurdaspur happened, and now Pathankot happened, then what if they go more inside Punjab... what if Jalandhar were to happen... then what happens...'

Security personnel outside the Indian Air Force's Pathankot air station.Former Research and Analysis Wing chief A S Dulat sees a pattern in the recent terrorist attacks from across the border.

According to Dulat, the terrorists are mainly targeting Indian security establishments and recent attacks in the Punjab sector -- a police station in Gurdaspur in July and the Indian Air Force station in Pathankot on Saturday morning -- are a matter of serious concern as these attacks could perhaps spread across the state and may revive terrorism in Punjab.

"My fear is that if Gurdaspur happened, and now Pathankot happened, then what if they go more inside Punjab... what if Jalandhar were to happen... then what happens..." Dulat told Prasanna D Zore/Rediff.com in a telephone interview.

On the Pakistan army trying to derail the India-Pakistan peace process, now in the works

I wouldn't look at it like that. Pakistan will take the position that these are non-State actors, which is their standard line of defence. This is a grey area which has to be examined in a greater detail.

How they (the terrorists who attacked the Pathankot air force base on Saturday, January 2, morning) got across (into India) is our business and we should know how they came across and from where.

Parallels between Pathankot and Kargil

I don't look at it like that. I don't think the Pakistani establishment or the Pakistani army is trying to derail anything (Prime Minister Narendra Modi's peace attempt) because I am sure they are on board in this whole thing.

But there could be other people and whatever happened could have been planned before Lahore (the Modi-Nawaz Sharif Christmas day meeting) happened. These things don't happen overnight. This must have been in the pipeline. Now, who is doing this we need to figure out.

On Pakistani terrorists attacking at will

I don't say it is very easy and terrorists are striking at will, but it (the terror attacks) is happening.

My fear is that if Gurdaspur happened, and now Pathankot happened, then what if they go more inside Punjab... what if Jalandhar were to happen... then what happens...

The very fact that these people are able to get in (inside India) indicates that there is something wrong somewhere...

If you look at what is happening for some time, along the Jammu border it is either (an attack) on a police station or an army camp. They are targeting the (Indian) security establishments. This is a serious matter, but I would not attribute it to the Pakistan (army).

People on the ground should know what measures to take to prevent such audacious attacks.

I think the Punjab and J&K police and the Border Security Force needs to cooperate on this and, of course, the intelligence agencies as well.

On whether there was a lapse and lack of coordination between Indian security agencies

Obviously, there is a lapse somewhere... when Gurdaspur happened (in July 2015)... and now it is Pathankot. So, this sector is being targeted for whatever reasons and we should look into why this part of Punjab is being targeted.

But the Pathankot airbase is a serious matter.

Lack of coordination

I would not say that, but whenever there is a crisis there is very good coordination. But when things are normal people (India's security establishment) forget about these (terror) threats.

It all depends on which groups are behind these attacks. My point is this is not something new.

Whether it is Lashkar (e-Tayiba) or Jaish (e-Mohammed) it is happening in that (Jammu and Kashmir) area and the fact that they are entering Punjab now is a matter of grave concern.

These things (revivalism of terrorism in Punjab) needs to be looked at and analysed with a very fine comb and look into whatever is happening.

Prasanna D Zore