Air Force can use fire against Naxals : Antony

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New Delhi, Nov 25 (ANI): The Union Government on Wednesday clarified that there is no permission required to exercise the right to self-defence. The Indian Air Force (IAF) had asked for permission to fire on naxals to avoid any ambiguity.

Replying to a question raised by lawmakers K Malaisamy and N R Govindarajar over IAF asking for permission to open fire during anti Naxal operations, Defence Minister A K Antony said: "While permission is not required to exercise the right to self-defence, based upon past experience and intelligence input the Indian Air Force has sought approval of the Government for 'Rules of Engagement' for self-defence. These have been proposed to avoid any ambiguity and damage/injury to the helicopter and to the occupants."

Earlier, the IAF had approached the Defence Ministry for permission to fire on Maoists if their copters are attacked.

The IAF has deployed copter to assist the state forces in their combat against Maoists in Central India.

Replying to another question raised by Bala Apte over the production of Light Combat Helicopter, Antony said : "The design and development programme for Light Combat Helicopter was approved in October 2006. The first prototype (technology demonstrator) is expected to get the initial operation clearance by around mid 2011."

"There is a proposal for export of indigenously developed helicopters. HAL has exported five numbers of the indigenously developed Helicopters Dhruv to Ecuador and one to Mauritius," he added. (ANI)

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