The Centre has finally deployed Unarmed Aerial Vehicles (UAV) to give the security personnel fighting Maoist guerrillas on the ground a technological edge.
Government sources said the National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO) - a specialised technical intelligence gathering agency that reports to the Prime Minister's Office - recently placed two UAVs at the disposal of security forces involved in anti-naxal operations. A third is expected later.
Government officials did not specify the states or locations where the UAVs will be deployed. But there were indications that the eyes in the skies will be used in Chhattisgarh, Orissa and Jharkhand.
The home ministry had briefly used the UAVs around 2005. But the information on the location of the naxal camps had not helped at the time due to the thin spread of security forces.
Since then, the total number of central paramilitary forces tasked to fight naxals has quadrupled from 15-odd battalions to nearly 60. A massive modernisation exercise has also ensured that they are better armed and trained to use technology.
Home ministry officials suggested UAVs will also help give security forces information about large movement of people in the jungles. This will alert the ground forces to the presence of people, possibly Maoists, in their vicinity.
Specific information will also help the security establishment to deploy commandos to carry out operations with precision.