According to the latest blueprint prepared by the Union Home Ministry in consultation with paramilitary forces like ITBP and CRPF, foot patrols in Maoist violence-affected areas will now be essentially aided by infantry dogs as these forces have shunned the use of mine protected vehicles after they failed to give them protection from landmines.
The Indo-Tibetan Border Police, which pioneered in this domain by inducting Belgian shepherd dogs 'Malinois' for the first time in India in 2011, has been tasked with the training of these special breed of canines which are used by military units world over to track and raid on the enemy.
The latest anti-Naxal operations blueprint, accessed by PTI, envisages deployment of over 100 such canines for all the central forces deployed for these duties led by the largest Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF).
"These canines are being called 'commandogs' as they are equivalent to human commandos. They are being trained for the rigours of their task in the special dog training institutes of ITBP in Chandigarh and CRPF's in Taralu near Bangalore," a senior officer deployed in the Anti-Naxal Operations (ANO) grid said.
The plan, the officer said, is to deploy at least one such dog with each battalion of ITBP, CRPF, BSF and SSB across these states and subsequently increase these numbers to four per unit because multiple units of each battalion are out on task at one point of time.
At present, there are close to 120 battalions of central paramilitary forces deployed for anti-Maoist operations in the nine Naxal violence affected states of the country.
Special arrangements are being made for these dogs and their handlers to live in the battalion camps in these areas.