New Delhi: Facing ignominy after US helicopters entered deep into its territory without challenge, Pakistan has decided to make immediate amends and has put its air defence system on western border on high alert, by activating all radars.
As per reports on Tuesday, the order to maintain heightened level of vigil comes into force with immediate effect.
More importantly, reports further say that ‘Pakistan now considers all foreign forces in Afghanistan as threat to its national security’.
Not-yet-seen type of US helicopters, with US Navy SEALs onboard, had entered deep into Pakistani airspace in the intervening night of May 1 and 2. The commandos raided a compound in Abbottabad, 60 kilometres from Islamabad, and killed Osama bin Laden.
Questions were raised as to how Pakistan was unaware of the intrusion by the US choppers, which flew 200 kilometres into Pakistani territory and conducted a 40-minute operation and flew out back, without the Air Force having any idea about what’s transpiring within their area of jurisdiction.
Accepting the responsibility for air surveillance failure, Pakistan Air Chief Marshal Rao Qamar Suleman had said that the entry of American helicopters into the Pakistani air space was not detected because the radars on the western borders were inactive on May 2 – a practice that was followed because no threat was perceived to urban areas of Pakistan from Afghanistan.
He had also dispelled the impression that the Pakistani radars were jammed.
Pakistan is said to have two kinds of radars - high-level radars and low-level radars.
Air space is primarily watched over by high-level radars, while the low-level ones are basically used for training purposes.
Owing to the high cost of maintenance and replacement, Pakistan Air Force had not been using them 24X7 on western borders, even as it continued to maintain strict vigil on its eastern border with India.
However, other reports have claimed that the committee looking into what led to the fiasco has found, in initial investigation, that radar system along western border had been functioning as normal at Peshawar and Risalpur, where Pakistan Air Force has a main air base.
These radars had reportedly detected movement of six fighter and AWACS (Airborne Warning and Control System) plane over Jalalabad in Afghanistan, bordering Pakistan`s Khyber tribal agency.
But as those planes did not enter Pakistani air space, it is assumed that they were in action close to the border only to divert attention of Pakistani radars from the helicopters out on the “mission”.