Army seeks guidelines on tackling Naxal attacks on facilities

Hesitant to engage itself in anti-Naxal operations, Army on Friday said it has sought guidelines from the Centre to deal with Maoist attacks on its installations planned in left-wing extremism affected areas.

Last Updated: Jan 14, 2011, 18:53 PM IST

New Delhi: Hesitant to engage itself in
anti-Naxal operations, Army on Friday said it has sought
guidelines from the Centre to deal with Maoist attacks on its
installations planned in left-wing extremism affected areas.

The Army is planning to set up a training facility for
its Special Forces in Bastar district in Chhattisgarh, which
is known to be a hotbed of Naxalites.

"We are looking at a situation where somebody tries to
instigate us by trying to foray into these training areas. We
have asked a clarification on the Rules of Engagement (RoE) to
ensure that this issue is taken care of.

"All that we are asking is what happens if we are fired
at and we fire back. How do you legally cover our people... We
all should know what are the do`s and don`ts. There is a need
for clarification on this," Army chief General VK Singh told
a press conference.

The Army chief said the force does not require outside
protection to its bases and this will be done by its own
troops only.

He said for the legal cover required for the troops to be
deployed in the region, the Army is "not looking at AFSPA as
we don`t want to and will not operate in those areas. We are
only looking at training into the areas earmarked and the base
there."

Asked about scenario where Army bases are attacked by a
large group of Naxalites, Singh said, "I think that they will
not do any such thing because they know that they will get a
befitting reply if they try any such thing."

Asked if setting up of bases in the region would mean
that the Army would be involved in anti-Naxal operations in
future, he said, "We have deliberately decided to stay out of
any commitment in the left wing extremism and Maoist problem
except for giving advice and training."

He said the acquisition of land in Bastar and taking
over of an airstrip there was part of its long-term plans as
it was looking for land to shift its training school from
Nahan in Himachal Pradesh to some bigger area.

Singh said the Army setting up base there should not be
seen as a sign of it ultimately being drawn into these
operations.

A couple of years ago, after Maoists fired at IAF
helicopters in Chhattisgarh, government had allowed it to fire
back at Naxalites in case of an attack.

PTI