The Cabinet Committee on Security on Thursday approved a new plan to counter Maoists in the backdrop of a Jharkhand Police Inspector being beheaded by the Maoists, even as the Defence Ministry said it was studying an IAF proposal to open fire at Left-wing extremists in self-defence.
The CCS meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, in New Delhi reviewed the situation and debated ways to deal with the problem and gave the clearance to the plan, a day after Union Home Minister P Chidambaram warned the Maoists to "abjure" violence or face action, top government sources said.
Defence Minister AK Antony, meanwhile, told reporters on the sidelines of an Air Force Day event in the capital that the Ministry was still studying the IAF request to permit it to open fire on Maoists in self-defence, if required.
"However, the Ministry doesn't want to enhance the role of the armed forces in the anti-naxal operations more than what it is doing at present," Antony said.
He also clarified that the IAF proposal, made a week ago, was still pending with the defence Ministry and that it has not yet been put up before the CCS.
Earlier in the day, IAF Chief P V Naik said the Air Force would deploy its Garud Special Forces Commandos on the choppers operating in naxal-affected areas to man the guns to be mounted on the helicopters.
He also said the IAF Commandos will not do "Rambo-style" operations and that they would only be protecting the IAF assets, men and women deployed in Maoists-hit areas.