Thursday, November 19, 2009

Kapoor rules out direct role for army in anti- naxal ops

TNN 19 November 2009, 03:34am IST

Deepak Kapoor

PUNE: Chief of Army Staff General Deepak Kapoor said that a direct involvement of the army in countering the increasingly disruptive activities of the Naxalites is not mandated, considering that the problem was primarily a socio-economic class struggle.

Kapoor, however, reaffirmed the army's total commitment to providing advice, training and tactical assistance to the state as well as the central police forces in the fight against the Naxals.

"We will extend all help for establishing additional counter-terrorism schools, which the states affected by the Naxal menace may feel the need for," he said. This will help the states as well as the Centre to withstand this major security challenge, he added.

During an informal chat with mediapersons on the sidelines of the annual General B C Joshi memorial lecture at the University of Pune, Kapoor said: "The army has been involved in such support role and has trained as many as 200 companies of the police over the last two years."
At a recent meeting with the state chief ministers on internal security, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had described Naxalism as the greatest internal threat that called for priority attention.

Kapoor said, "Disruptive activities of the Naxalites in Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Orissa, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and parts of Maharashtra pose a major challenge. The Union government has adopted a multi-dimensional and integrated approach to counter the menace." The Naxal menace has affected 200 districts across 14 states either marginally, partially or in a big way. he added.

Asked whether there has been any proposal from Maharashtra seeking army assistance to counter terrorism, Kapoor said, "We usually get all such proposals from the Union home ministry. So far, there isn't any specific proposal regarding counter-terrorism school in Maharashtra but the army has been providing its expertise to all the affected states."

Asked how the army views the Chinese government's claim on disputed territories in Arunachal Pradesh, Kapoor said, "Talks between the Indian and the Chinese governments were on to resolve the border issues. We have to wait and see what is the outcome." At the same time, he added, the armed forces ought to be fully prepared for any eventually or threat to national security.

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