With the home ministry's much-touted coordinated security offensive floundering, the country's anti-Maoist strategy is up for course correction.
Government sources have told HT that the focus will now shift from central police forces securing and facilitating development in Maoist-infested areas to surgical strikes by elite commando units to eliminate the leadership of the guerrillas.
But buying sophisticated weapons and training men is the easy part. The tricky part will be getting actionable intelligence about the Maoist leaders.
"This is the only way ahead. But generating intelligence is going to be the key, something that should have been done three years ago," said Ajai Sahni at the Delhi-headquartered think-tank, Institute for Conflict Management.
The home ministry has conceded this point, but is reluctant to completely disown their previous strategy which started in 2009 with 59 central police battalions.
There are now 82 battalions and the ministry plans to introduce eight more over the next month, each with a sanctioned strength of 1,000 personnel.
Government sources also said that tardiness in implementation of projects and discordant voices within the Congress on the use of force to deal with Maoist activities have delayed the formation of a concrete strategy to deal with the rebels.