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Naxal ops: IAF for recall of UN mission choppers

Amid proposals for using helicopters for movement of paramilitary forces during anti-Naxal operations, the IAF has suggested to the government that its 15 choppers deputed for UN peacekeeping forces may be called back.



New Delhi: Amid proposals for using
helicopters for movement of paramilitary forces during
anti-Naxal operations, the IAF has suggested to the government
that its 15 choppers deputed for UN peacekeeping forces may be
called back as it has constraints of resources.

The IAF has made it clear that it has no reservation in
helping police and paramilitary forces in evacuation but is
hard-pressed for helicopters as most of them are deployed for
various operational requirements.

The Air Force has told the government that if it were to
assist in anti-Naxal operations, it would require more
helicopters, Defence Ministry sources said here.

In this context, it has suggested that the 15 MI-17
helicopters deputed for UN peacekeeping missions in three
African countries may be called back, they said.

"The option of calling back the choppers from foreign
duties is still under consideration of the government," the
sources added.

The IAF has a fleet of medium-lift Mi-17 and Mi-8
helicopters, which are used for maintenance of troops in high
altitude areas of Jammu and Kashmir and North East and to
carry out relief and rescue missions during natural disasters.

The Home Ministry has proposed that IAF should provide
helicopters for quick deployment and evacuation of
paramilitary forces during anti-Naxal operations that may be
carried out in inaccessible areas.

The proposal is currently before the Cabinet Committee
on Security, which is yet to take a final view.

Use of the Air Force for combat has been ruled out
because of the risk of collateral damage.

The Defence forces are not inclined to get involved in
combat operations against Naxals and want to leave it to
police and paramilitary forces.

At the same time, the IAF has kept four MI-17s in Raipur
on standby in case these may be required for evacuation
purposes in anti-Naxal operations in Chhattisgarh.

PTI

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