Monday, April 12, 2010

No air strikes against Maoists: IAF chief

Times Now, Apr 12, 2010, 04.35pm IST

NEW DELHI: Asserting that his force was always ready to face any challenge to the country's internal security, India's Air Force Chief on Monday said that any decision on use of airpower to tackle the Maoists must follow a clear strategy to minimise collateral damage.

Air Chief Marshal P V Naik added that the Air force has the capability to conduct strikes with utmost precision.

However, it must be understood that if a 250 kg bomb is dropped at a spot, its impact will be in a radius of at least 800 metres and that may affect many people who may not themselves be insurgents.

Last week, Home Secretary Gopal K Pilla too ruled out use of air power in the fight against Naxalites. "I don't think we need to use air power at the moment (in the anti-naxal operation). We can manage with what we have. Our strategy is unfolding and we should be able to manage without air power," he had said.

However, Pillai made it clear that the air power will be used only for evacuation and for mobility of troops.

Earlier, after the Maoists killed 76 CRPF personnel in Dantewada, Chhattisgarh the Director General of Police said that the government intends to launch surgical strikes to counter Maoist terror in the state.

He had said, "There is no single-dimensional operation. The operations will be more intense against the Maoists. There will be surgical strikes based on intelligence inputs. There may be more complex sort of operations and more dismantling of the camps. We will give them a befitting reply. It will be a well calibrated response and well thought of. We will surprise the Maoists."

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