Army seeks guidelines on tackling Naxal attacks on facilities

Written by: Pti
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New Delhi, Jan 14 (PTI) Hesitant to engage itself inanti-Naxal operations, Army today said it has soughtguidelines from the Centre to deal with Maoist attacks on itsinstallations planned in left-wing extremism affected areas.

The Army is planning to set up a training facility forits Special Forces in Bastar district in Chhattisgarh, whichis known to be a hotbed of Naxalites.

"We are looking at a situation where somebody tries toinstigate us by trying to foray into these training areas. Wehave asked a clarification on the Rules of Engagement (RoE) toensure that this issue is taken care of.

"All that we are asking is what happens if we are firedat and we fire back. How do you legally cover our people... Weall should know what are the do''s and don''ts. There is a needfor clarification on this," Army chief General V K Singh tolda press conference.

The Army chief said the force does not require outsideprotection to its bases and this will be done by its owntroops only.

He said for the legal cover required for the troops to bedeployed in the region, the Army is "not looking at AFSPA aswe don''t want to and will not operate in those areas. We areonly looking at training into the areas earmarked and the basethere."

Asked about scenario where Army bases are attacked by alarge group of Naxalites, Singh said, "I think that they willnot do any such thing because they know that they will get abefitting reply if they try any such thing."

Asked if setting up of bases in the region would meanthat the Army would be involved in anti-Naxal operations infuture, he said, "We have deliberately decided to stay out ofany commitment in the left wing extremism and Maoist problemexcept for giving advice and training."

He said the acquisition of land in Bastar and takingover of an airstrip there was part of its long-term plans asit was looking for land to shift its training school fromNahan in Himachal Pradesh to some bigger area.

Singh said the Army setting up base there should not beseen as a sign of it ultimately being drawn into theseoperations.

A couple of years ago, after Maoists fired at IAFhelicopters in Chhattisgarh, government had allowed it to fireback at Naxalites in case of an attack.

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