The two Garud Commandos of the Indian Air Force, who were killed in an encounter in Jammu and Kashmir yesterday, were part of the first batch of IAF personnel attached to the Army for anti-terror training in the wake of the Pathankot attack. Two militants were killed in the operation.
At the Pathankot airbase in Punjab, Corporal Gursewak Singh became the first Garud to fall to terrorist bullets. Six heavily armed terrorists from Pakistan attacked the Air Force station on the early hours of January 02, 2016 and seven security personnel lost their lives in the ensuing operation.
The two squads now operating with the Army in Kashmir are the first lot of Garuds undergoing this on-the-job training.
Two Garud squads, each consisting of one officer and 13 other ranks, have been deployed in Kashmir.
Sergeant Milind Kishor
According to sources, following the terror attack at Pathankot Air Force Station in January 2016, the IAF chose to upgrade the training of its Garud commandos to be able to effectively tackle a jihadi terrorist threat and improve their security posture. One of the teams, which is with 13 Rashtriya Rifles battalion at Hajjin, was involved in Wednesday's operation.
Sources privy to the development claim that the report also faulted Garud Commandoes for their failure in handling the situation and said that they were ill prepared for the task.
At present, the force has 1,000 Garuds and the IAF is now raising more squads with focus on anti-terror operations. "Idea to embedded Garud Commandoes was aimed to mould them into a well-knit fighting force capable of taking on terrorists", said a defence official. Moreover, the IAF is implementing a Rs 8,000 crore plan to shore up the security of almost 54 airbases all over the country post Pathankot attack.
Prince William commemorates New Zealand soldiers who fell at Passchendaele
William, who was dressed in a suit and wore a poppy and his medals, laid a wreath in recognition of the sacrifices of the fallen. There was a ceremonial welcome from the Maori Cultural Group of the New Zealand Defence Force.
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