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IAF choppers not be part of anti-naxal offensive: Govt

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NEW DELHI (PTI): Government said that use of IAF helicopters in any offensive against Naxals is not part of a strategy in its new plan to deal with rising Maoists' violence.

Shortly after the Cabinet Committee of Security (CCS) approved the Government's new action plan to combat Naxals, Union Home Secretary G K Pillai said it was not contemplating the use of Air Force helicopters for any offensive purposes even in self-defence.

"We are not contemplating the use of Air Force helicopters for any offensive purposes even in self-defence, because we will be able to...We have worked out strategies that will ensure that...we would ensure that the Naxalites are not able to fire at the helicopters as they come in for landing," Pillai told CNN-IBN on Thursday.

He said the strategy for using Air Force helicopters is primarily for three purposes -- one for casualty evacuation, two for surveillance, and three for mobility.

Pillai's comments came even as Defence Minister A K Antony said it was studying an IAF proposal to open fire at naxals in self-defence.

"However, the Ministry doesn't want to enhance the role of the armed forces in the anti-naxal operations more than what it is doing at present," Antony said.

Pillai also said the basic strategy now will be for the security forces to go into areas where civil administration is not functioning to dominate the area.

"They would not fire at anybody unless fired upon. And then allow the civil administration almost simultaneously to move in and construct school buildings, roads, primary health centres, sub centres and so on. That's the basic strategy, “he said.

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