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`No decision on use of Army against Maoists`

The govt is yet to decide on the use of armed forces against Maoists, Pallam Raju has said.



Hyderabad: The Government is yet to decide on
the use of armed forces in dealing with Maoists violence,
Minister of State for Defence M M Pallam Raju on Saturday said.

"Whether to involve them (armed forces) or how to involve
them and to what degree to involve them is something that the
Government is deliberating. It is not a matter of public
debate, it is something that the Government has to decide," he
said.
Raju was talking to reporters after reviewing the Combined
Graduation Parade at Air Force Academy in Dundigal here.

The matter (use of Army and Air Force to tackle Maoists)
is before the Government, he said, adding he would not like to
comment further.

"They (Maoists) too are citizens of our country. So when
air raids are involved (against Maoists) there is bound to be
collateral damage. It is something that needs a very, very
responsible decision after considering all factors," Raju said
in reply to a question.

About the multi-billion dollar 126 Medium Multi-Role
Combat Aircraft that the Indian Air Force is acquiring, he
said, the trials for procuring them are over.

Raju said the Government has made the defence acquisition
process very transparent. "We have tried to speed up the
decision making process and are doing everything possible to
speed up the pace of acquisition process," he said.
Replying to another query, the Minister said the Chiefs of
Staff Committee is looking at how to gradually induct more
lady officers into all the streams and in fact the three
services have increasingly been making changes to accommodate
women officers in more and more streams.

Asked when the women officers were likely to be assigned
combat duties, the Minister said, "as of now at the Air Force
command, women officers are flying helicopters and transport
aircraft and as far as combat aircraft are concerned...that is
the issue on which the Chiefs of Staff Committee has to make a
decision."

PTI

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