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Thursday, October 8, 2009

IAF can open fire


I WONDER : GOOD ! SELF DEFENE IS EVERYONE'S RIGHT. BUT I STILL FEEL FLYING WITH FULL COMBAT POTENTIAL WILL ACT AS A BIG DETERRENT ITSELF. 


New Delhi, Oct. 7: Air force personnel in helicopters deployed in the anti-Naxalite offensive will carry firearms and will have the authority to fire in self-defence, a senior defence ministry source said here today. 



Air Chief Marshal Pradeep Vasant Naik said here last week that he had sought government permission to open fire at Naxalites if his personnel and aircraft were fired at. 


The cabinet committee on security, likely to meet tomorrow, may formalise the rules of engagement as the Centre co-ordinates the offensive with the states. A senior air force officer said: “The right to fire in self-defence is the first rule.”

But he said the two types of helicopters being used in the offensive — Mi 17 and the Mi 17 1V — will not be mounted with weapons right now.

Both types of helicopters are being used for troop transport, casualty evacuation and as cargo carriers. While the Mi 17 1V — that has an open rear — has an integral weapon system, the Mi 17 would need to be armed. Both types of helicopters are armoured.

Air force personnel have been asked to wear bullet-proof jackets and carry personal weapons. Authorising them to fire means that every chopper will carry personnel in addition to the crew. The helicopter has a crew of three — two pilots and a flight engineer. Effectively, now each of the helicopters would also carry a gunner.

Despite the increasing involvement of the air force, defence minister A.K. Antony said he did not favour deployment of the armed forces in the offensive.

“The Naxalite problem is an internal security problem and the government wants to minimise central armed forces involvement in tackling such problems. They (the armed forces) are to be used only as an instrument of last resort,” he said.

“It is mainly the duty of state governments to handle it. I have already told you that it is an internal law and order and security issue. We want to minimise these kind of armed forces operations for internal security,” he said.

The defence minister indicated that the views at the Centre had hardened since the beheading of Jharkhand police intelligence officer Francis Indwar. “Nobody can accept this type of brutal violence,” he said.

http://www.telegraphindia.com/1091008/jsp/nation/story_11589865.jsp




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