`Military action against Naxals unethical`

Chidambaram has ruled out military operations as an option to tackle the Maoist menace.

Last Updated: May 11, 2010, 23:46 PM IST

New Delhi: Categorically ruling out the use
of military to counter the Maoist threat, Home Minister P
Chidambaram today suggesting government cannot be dictatorial
as there ethical and electoral considerations involved.

Citing the example of Sri Lanka tackling the LTTE with
use of its military might, Chidambaram said "when I was asked
to do that in India, I said `no`. We cannot do that in India
because there is an ethical consideration to it.

"We are quite clear we cannot use, we ought not use the
Army or the Air Force to battle the Maoist threat in India,"
he said.

Chidambaram said governments have to survive and also
get re-elected and policymakers have to factor in all these
before deciding on issues.

He was addressing a gathering of eminent strategic
thinkers and diplomats at the release of a book `The Long View
from Delhi` written by Rear Admiral Raja Menon and Dr Rajiv
Kumar.

The massacre of 76 CRPF jawans by Maoists in Chhattisgarh
last month had brought up the demand from certain quarters for
use of armed forces to tackle the Naxals.

While the Home Ministry had said that it was re-thinking
on its strategy, the Defence Ministry warned against the use
of the military against the Maoists.

The Home Minister said India had the capability to
counter the Naxals militarily but it would not do so.

He said Naxalism was one of the three major problems
plaguing the internal security of the country but it was
"within our control" and there was a debate on the ways and
means to contain it.

Chidambaram said the other two threats were insurgency in
the North East and the terrorism from jihadi elements.

"Terrorism of jihadi variety is just one kind of
terrorism. There are examples of terrorism from other
religious groups, particularly extreme right wing Hindu
religious groups and to some extent from Sikh groups. And
there is enough talent within the government to tackle them,"
he added.

On jihadi terrorism, Chidambaram said it usually emanated
from across the border in Pakistan but extended even beyond
into the Middle East.

"Terrorism of the jehadi variety is really cross-border
terrorism. Even the definition of cross-border terrorism has
... no longer does it cross our border and go into Pakistan.
It goes beyond Pakistan. It now reaches a few Middle East
countries," he added.

He said containing cross-border terrorism was more
difficult compared to Northeast insurgency issues or Naxalism.

"I believe that the problem of insurgency in the
Northeast is within our control. By and large, it is a problem
that we can contain, control and resolve.

"Likewise Maoism or Naxalism is also within our control.
We are still debating how to control it," he added.

PTI