NEW DELHI: Indian Army Chief General Dalbir Singh on Wednesday conceded that lessons must be learnt from the Pathankot operation and rubbished rumours of poor inter-agency coordination as the reason why the search operation ran on for one week, Hindustan Times reported.
The Pathankot air base attack stretched on nearly a week before security forces claimed to have sanitised the sprawling 2,000 acre installation after an intensive search operation.
"Lessons definitely need to be learnt from the Pathankot operation, but it will be premature to elaborate before the National Investigation Agency (NIA) probe is over," he said while addressing an annual press conference.
The army chief did not respond to a question on the reason why the operation ran long. The matter was "best left to commanders on the ground," he said.
"Coordination among different agencies wasn’t lacking during the Pathankot operation. There was total synergy. 560 soldiers were part of the operation and a team of Special Forces was also deployed," Singh said.
His statement comes amidst speculation in the media that poor inter-agency coordination is one of the reasons behind the prolonged operation.
A former head of the Research & Analysis Wing (RAW), India's main foreign intelligence agency earlier said "Too much time was wasted. How did they infiltrate to where they did? How were they allowed to roam around for 24 hours?"
Although the attack was claimed by the United Jihad Council, an alliance of Kashmiri militant groups, New Delhi maintains the attackers have a connection to Pakistan and have asked Islamabad to investigate the "specific and actionable information" they gave the Pakistani government.
Pakistani officials have said that a key component of the evidence supplied by India about the terror attack doesn’t check out ─ the numbers that the six attackers called in the hours before opening fire at Pathankot are not registered in Pakistan, NDTV said quoting sources.
A meeting between the foreign secretaries of both nations had been tentatively scheduled for January 15. But India has said it is awaiting Pakistan's response on the information provided relating to the attack, after which it will decide on the resumption of bilateral peace talks.