Home Minister P Chidambaram said on Thursday that states have the primary responsibility of combating the Maoists with a policy of development and calibrated police action.
Making a statement in the Rajya Sabha on the Maoist massacre of 76 security personnel in Chhattisgarh April 6, the minister said anti-Maoist operations were being carried out with the policy deliberated and agreed upon in meetings with the chief ministers of the affected states.
He said the government had qualities of "a strong head, a stronger heart and enormous staying power" to fight the insurgents.
"We should stay calm, hold our nerve and stay on the course that we had carefully chosen since October 2009," he said.
Chidambaram said the government's call for talks with the Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maosit) was made in the hope that there will be a sincere response.
"The only condition is that the CPI-Maoist must abjure violence.
"Paramilitary forces have been provided to the affected states, including Chhattisgarh, to help the state governments carry out counter-insurgency operations, regain control of areas dominated by Naxalites (Maoists), restore the civil administration and re-start development work. The state governments, therefore, have the primary responsibility," he said.
He said an inquiry committee headed by E.N. Ram Mohan will complete its probe into the Dantewada massacre in two weeks.
He said report of the inquiry panel should be awaited "before arriving at any conclusion".
Giving details of the April 6 attack, he said a 81-strong force from A, C and G companies of the 62nd battalion of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) was instructed to undertake operations between April 4-6.
He said the contingent came under heavy fire from Maoists at 5.50 a.m. on April 6 in Chintalnar forests in Chhattisgarh's Dantewada district and reinforcements that moved towards the area were also attacked.
Pointing out that anti-Maoist exercise had been jointly planned by senior officers of Chattisgarh police and the CRPF, he said the three companies involved in the operation had undergone pre-induction training before being sent to the area.
"Preliminary inquiries have revealed that the deaths were caused largely due to bullet injuries, crude bombs and grenades. Seventy-four men of the CRPF, one head constable of the civil police and one driver of the reinforcement party lost their lives. Seventy five weapons were also lost. Only post mortem reports and a through inquiry, including de-briefing of the injured 'jawans' (soldiers), would fully establish the sequence of events and the facts," he said.