Goof up reveals locations of military bases

October 19th, 2011 - 10:13 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Oct 19 (IANS) In a major goof up, the Indian Army’s forward bases in sensitive Jammu and Kashmir and northeastern states such as Arunachal Pradesh were posted online by the air force in a tender it issued, sending shockwaves down the defence ministry.

Incidentally, the tender for hiring of helicopters from private airlines and public sector undertakings itself was unusual for the Indian Air Force (IAF), particularly to meet its operational needs in sensitive border areas.

But it has been forced to do so due to acute shortages in its fleet and the low levels of the transport fleet’s availability.

The goof up was noticed Wednesday, though the tender has been online for at least a week now, sources said here.

This sent the defence ministry officials into a tizzy, with several rounds of consultations and discussions in the corridors of the South Block.

Though the defence ministry officials were unwilling to issue an official statement on the IAF gaffe, they termed the matter “serious.”

The army, on the other hand, is livid. Most army officers IANS spoke to, but did not want to be identified as they are not authorised to speak to the media, admitted in private that the IAF had made the job easy for those who have to otherwise work hard to get the coordinates for these bases.

The tender document has given out in the public domain the longitude and latitude of the nine forward bases and six maintenance bases in Jammu and Kashmir along the line of control with Pakistan, and another 15 forward bases and three maintenance bases in the northeast, particularly in Arunachal Pradesh, closer to the line of actual control with China. The altitudes of these bases too have been given in the document.

Among the forward bases or drop zones exposed in the tender document include Tangdhar, Baraub, Navapachi, Kishtwar and Khundru in Jammu and Kashmir, Tawang, Daporijo, Tato, Taksing, Chuna, Topukhar in the northeast.

The document, the IAF claimed, was nothing new and that similar tenders had been issued before too, though they did not want to confirm if such detailed coordinates of the bases were shared in the public domain.

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