New Delhi, May 20: Defence Minister A K Antony on Thursday, May 20 said the government will thoroughly discuss the use of air power for fighting Maoists, and added that the decision would be binding on all, including the defence ministry.
"I will not entertain a public debate on this. The strategy is not to be debated in public. Government will discuss thoroughly, then ultimately government will take a decision. That decision will be binding on everybody, including the Ministry of Defence," Antony said.
Earlier on Wednesday, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh had said air power could not be used to attack the insurgents as it may result in major collateral damage.
Reacting to a question about the use of air strikes against the rebels, Singh said air power could not be used to attack the insurgents as it may result in major collateral damage. He, however, favoured the use of helicopters. "As far as the use of helicopters is concerned, military helicopters can be used for rescue and relief. I don't think anybody would have problems with that," said Singh.
About 35 persons including policemen were killed when Maoist rebels detonated a landmine targeting a bus in Chhattisgarh's Dantewada District on Monday, May 17, the second major attack in as many months. The attack in the mineral-rich state was the worst since a brutal strike by Maoists in the same region in April, which killed at least 76 policemen.