IAF set for Govt nod to fire back at Naxals

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AK Anthony
New Delhi, Oct 11: Defence Minister A K Anthony said the IAF was all set get permission to open fire in self-defence during anti-Naxal operations.

Speaking to reporters, Anthony said, "After carefully preparing safeguards and operational details, for self defence only, we will give the operational clearance. When we give permission, we will first inform the Air Force."

He also reiterated that the government would not involve them in a combat role in the anti-Naxal operations, which was the primary responsibility of the State government and central paramilitary forces.

"There is no proposal to deploy the armed forces in anti-Naxal operations. The IAF will have a limited role to transport the paramilitary forces and casualty evacuation. There is no proposal to engage the IAF in a combat role in the operations," he said.

Antony said internal security was "purely the primary duty" of state governments and paramilitary forces and that the Centre would extend all help to them.

Earlier, IAF chief Air Chief Marshal P V Naik had sought Defence Ministry permission to defend air force helicopters and crew members operating in Naxal-hit areas.

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