Anti Maoist operations – UAVs to be used to gather information

The Government, for the past several years, has been stating that the Maoist problem is a severe problem, and the ‘Red’ corridor that the naxalites have set up in the central section of the country means that there are large areas of the country where Government officials do not set foot. However, at the same time, since law and order was a state subject, and also because we did not have a really effective Home Minister (Shivraj Patil), there was not much Government effort in this regard. It is only recently that the Government has shown determination to act in this regard – however, this could also be because the action by the Naxals has become more direct, and they have started attacking economic assets of the state and of private companies at a much higher frequencies. Worrying for the state and central Governments, they are also showing strategy in attacking the security forces, and getting local populations to take part in their training.

Now, it is becoming clear that the Government has started working with the State Governments as part of a new strategy to take on the Naxals, and more importantly, a vital part of the strategy is towards promising development for these backward regions, something that has been missing in the past. It is this exploitation of the mineral rich areas without adequate development of the regions and the poverty-stricken locals that has enabled the Naxals to strike a hold. The military aspect of this battle is slowly showing the resolve of the state, and the deployment of UAV’s to gather information is an important part of this resolve (UAV’s would help in getting information in these vast, sometimes densely forested regions) (link to article):

The UAVs, with in-built camera, well-equipped data link and video link, will gather and record information which will be shared among the security forces engaged in anti-naxal operations, specially in Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Orissa, Maharashtra and West Bengal.
Officials said Maoists are now having a free run in 40,000 sq km area across the country where around 25 lakh people live, necessitating urgent action against them. The Naxalites have killed more than 2,600 people, including civilians, in 5,800 incidents in last three years. The highest number of incidents of violence has taken place in four worst-affected states — Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Jharkhand and Orissa — where 2,212 people lost their lives from January 2006 to August this year.

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