Parrikar admits lapses on Nagrota, says ‘some lethargy has set in’

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In the wake of Nagrota terror attack, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar today admitted that there is scope for improvement in security as some “sort of lethargy” has set in over a period of time and said those behind any “lapse” will pay for it.

The Minister also said that the recent surgical strike has led to a sense of “uncertainty” in the Pakistani security establishment and it was also a good confidence building measure for India.

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Replying to queries on security arrangements at army camps, Parrikar said, “I think we can definitely improve upon it. Probably, over a period, some sort of lethargy has set in.

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Relaxation, it is obvious… it is taking some time.”

He was asked if there was something that should have been done or can be done in the security arrangements in the wake of militants storming the complex of 166 artillery unit of Army at Nagrota on Tuesday.

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Seven security personnel, including two officers, were killed in the incident which witnessed a fierce gunbattle and a hostage-like situation at the army camp, considered to be a peace posting in the Army parlance.

Parrikar, who was speaking at HT Leadership Summit, said it is “very painful” to see soldiers die but they needed to save children and families.

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“I think we need to think out of the box. I am very sure that Army is aware of it and working on it,” he said.

Asked about his earlier stress on fixing responsibility, Parrikar said even if he does a mistake, he will “have to pay for it”.

“Even if there are lapses, they need to be tackled properly. You cannot afford lapses,” the Minister said.

Parrikar spoke about the need to use smart technologies for perimeter protection of sensitive bases but said infrastructure cannot be created overnight.

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He indicated that lengthy army procedures were coming in the way of getting things done swiftly.

Asked if India could carry out more surgical strikes, Parrikar said the “principle of uncertainty” should be allowed to operate. “It will be beneficial to all of us.”

He said that surgical strikes have introduced a degree of uncertainty. “Obviously, uncertainty itself creates decision-making bottlenecks. You will never know them.”

The surgical strike were carried out in retaliation to the September 18 Uri attack that left 19 Indian soldiers dead.

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