India reviews security apparatus to fight Naxal rebels

21:51, April 12, 2010      

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The Indian government is reviewing the security apparatus in Naxal-infested states including Chhattisgarh and West Bengal, following the deadliest Naxal rebel attack on security forces in central India on April 6, said high level sources of the Home Ministry on Monday.

The Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government will now sanction more Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel to the rebel-affected areas of the country. In Raipur of Chhattisgarh and Midnapore of West Bengal, the security forces will be redeployed to take on the Naxals, said the sources.

Meanwhile, special commandos will be in charge to tackle Naxalites in these places who are found to be armed with state-of- the-art weapons and ammunitions.

Although there have been talks of roping in the Army and the Air Force to crush the rebel, both Army Chief General V.K. Singh and Air Force Chief Air Chief Marshal P.V. Naik have declared that the military has been trained to fight the enemy from across the border and not launch offensive operations against the citizens of the country.

Air Chief Marshal Naik said on Monday that any use of Indian Air Force against Maoists should avoid collateral damage.

"We have the capability to conduct strikes with utmost precision. If at all a situation arises where the use of Air Force becomes inevitable, there has to be clarity on the magnitude of the force we are supposed to use," he said in the national capital of New Delhi.

"After all, we are dealing with our own people in our own territory. So far we have not been approached by the Home Ministry for any type of help in combating Naxalites," he added.

However, the Indian Air Force has deployed Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) to track the rebels.

"We had deployed Unmanned Aerial Vehicles in the tribal areas of the states a couple of years ago and provided inputs at that time. The Air Force is not conducting any reconnaissance in the region at the moment," said the air chief.

But he said it also needs to be understood that the reconnaissance by UAVs will have some limitations.

"UAVs can give information about a number of people gathering at a spot but it cannot tell you whether it is a group of armed insurgents or ordinary tribals and villagers," Naik said. "Aerial survey may not be possible in dense jungles as the devices cannot see through a canopy of trees, bushes and shrubs."

At least 75 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) men and one local police official were killed in the Dantewada massacre of April 6.

Source: Xinhua


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