Belgian guard dogs to be used in Naxal areas



Bangalore: Where man has failed, man's best friend is being pressed into service. The central security forces have imported a little known breed of Belgian shepherd dogs to provide troops with early warning of Naxal attack.

These dogs, of the "Malinois" breed, will be deployed in the Naxal infested areas of Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh where about 120 security men have been killed in the past four months.

Malinois Belgian shepherds have been used with success by NATO troops in Afghanistan and Israeli troops in Gaza. The eight Malinois being trained near Bangalore for anti-Naxal duty are the litter of an Israeli male Malinois which was crossed with an American bitch.

These guard dogs will accompany CRPF patrols in the Naxal areas where previous patrols have been caught off guard and massacred by Naxal militants.

The dogs are also being trained in explosives detection and this will help in sniffing out Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) which have in the past been found buried beneath tarred roads.

The four-month old Malinois Belgian shepherd are presently undergoing 22-weeks training near Bangalore and will later be sent for an advanced course to the Indo-Tibetan Border Police's (ITBP) National Centre for Dog Training near Chandigarh where they will receive specialised training in explosives and narcotics detection.

Compared to the better known German shepherd, the Belgian shepherd is a coarser looking breed with a bigger head and heavier snout, and is therefore not popular as a domestic pet.

But they have been proved to be extremely effective for tracking duties in terrains similar to the Naxal infested areas of Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and the contiguous areas of Orissa and West Bengal.

The security forces are hoping they will be able to provide early warning of an impending ambush in such terrain.

PTI