IAF allowed to fire back at Naxals

The Naxals in India inhabit regions that are poor, isolated from the main urban areas, and in many of the states in central India, the regions are also wooded, being full of thick forests. In these regions, the people of these regions have a life that is not very developed, where the apparent money spent on their welfare and development does not really reach them. The money is pilfered through the Government mechanism, and most arms of the Government in these regions (police, bureaucracy, etc) can be oppressive and not geared towards the welfare of these people. All this has given a rich breeding and sustainable ground for Naxalites and ultras, and these forces have taken over huge sections of the area in many states.
Now, no Government can really let this happen. Governments (and the political parties behind them) cannot accept that there are forces outside their control, and even though they know that they need to introduce more governance (and that too, governance that seeks to bring about actual development), they like to respond with force. So, the red menace is now so big that the Government is seemingly serious about tackling the naxalites. And when you do operations in forested regions, you do need support from the air force. But, the argument goes that the military forces are not supposed to fight against the citizens (if you leave aside many areas of the North East and Kashmir), and so you had the curious policy whereby the Air Force was supposed to give helicopter support to the police and para-military organizations, but if they were attacked by the red forces, they could not fight back. So, when a helicopter was supporting these operations, it could be fired upon from the ground, but could not fight back.

This was an extraordinary situation, and not something that military chiefs would like. They are not supposed to accept a situation in which their men are fired upon, but cannot fire back. So, there was a lot of debate about what would be the course of action to take in such cases, and finally, the Government has responded with logic. And what was the logic ? They can fire back in self-defense through special air force troops that will be on the aircraft (link to article):

The IAF on Thursday said it will deploy its commando units to defend its helicopters and men on board in Naxal-infested areas, but made it clear that they would not carry out any “rambo-style” operation against the Maoists. “It is not a free for all like ‘rambo’ that we will go and fire in the countryside. The helicopters operating for casualty evacuation will be mounted with guns and the Garud force will man them,” Naik said on the sidelines of the 77th Air Force Day parade here.
Referring to the killing of an IAF personnel in a Naxal attack on a helicopter during Chattisgarh Assembly elections last year, Naik said this made the IAF request the Defence Ministry to permit it to open fire in self-defence. He said the request was to ensure that the IAF could protect its personnel and platforms and suppress the fire coming on to a helicopter. “We are not indulging in any armed aggression against any citizen of India. We would only like to undertake operations to protect our helicopters and men and women who fly these (air) hospitals,” he said.

1 comment to IAF allowed to fire back at Naxals

  • Hey Good Post. We have to take care of our own citizens instead of getting nasty at them but if they get out of hand we have to show them who is PAPA. A similar kind of slide show is available on slideshare.net check it out

    Heres the link to it:


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