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Sunday, October 11, 2009

IAF gets the green signal to fire back at Naxals

New Delhi: Indian Air Force (IAF) now has the licence to open fire at Naxals but Union Government has added that the permission is limited to returning fire only in self-defence.

The decision to let the IAF fire back on Naxals marks the beginning of the direct use of military force against Left-wing extremists. So far, the role was limited to just providing logistical support to the police force.

Now many massacres later the Union Government has finally given the green signal for the use of lethal military force against the Naxals

"After carefully preparing safeguards and operational details for self defence we will give them (IAF) operational clearance only for self defence," said Defence Minister AK Antony in New Delhi on Saturday

Despite its writ being severely challenged by Naxal attacks across the country, the United Progressive Alliance Government is still very reluctant to go all-out against Left-wing terror."There is no question of Air Force engagement in offensive operation in Naxalite situation," added Antony.

IAF helicopters operating in Naxal-hit areas will now be protected by Special Forces commandos on board

"In the helicopters we will be mounting guns. They will be manned by Garud Force which is our expert force and they are the people who will be undertaking this," IAF Chief Air Chief Marshal PV Naik had said on October 8 at the Hindon Air Force Base during the 77th anniversary celebrations of the IAF.

So the Mi-17 IV chopper will increasingly be used by the IAF to assist police and paramilitaries in operations against Naxals.

The decision also marks the entry of elite Special Forces in the state's combat against Naxalism.


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