Pathankot is just a few kilometers away from Pakistan. It takes just half-an-hour’s drive from Pathankot to reach Jammu and Kashmir’s border. The border with Himachal Pradesh is within the city limits of this border town in Punjab. This is Pathankot, which shares border with three states and hosts the strategically important Air Force base, which came under terrorist attack, raising questions on the security of the base.
Pathania Rajput, who ruled Nurpur, made Pathankot his captial. The place where the fort of Pathania Rajput was located came to be known later as Pathankot. The Panthankot town is in the middle of mountain ranges, where famous Himalayan hill stations incluidng Kangra and Dalhousie are situated.
The Pathankot Air Force base comes under Western Air Command. The Air Force base is spread around 2,000 acres including forest. The Air Force base has played a key role in providing air security to the country during the wars against Pakistan.
The Air Force base came under attack during the 1965 and 1971 wars against Pakistan. Though Pathankot air force base was attacked during 1965 war, it didn’t suffer severe damage. However, in the 1971 war, Pakistan managed to destroy half of the runway at the air base.
The Ravi River, through which India shares international border with Pakistan, is turning out to be a threat for the country. Terrorists crossed the river in July last year and unleashed an attack in Gurudaspur district of Punjab. Six months after that attack, terrorists again crossed the river to attack Panthankot Air base. It is through Ravi river that drugs and counterfeit currencies are smuggled into India.
The Pathankot town is inhabited by thousands of people including some from Kerala. The long standing demand by residents of this town is for strengthening the security of this border town.
The demand may be many decades old, but now they have again raised it when the country was attacked twice within in six months by terrorists who crossed the Ravi River.