Relief is on the way for the Indian Air Force (IAF). The government is all set to give it the go-ahead to shoot down Naxals in self-defence.
Acting promptly on an IAF request for permission to fire on Naxals if its choppers or aircrew come under attack, defence minister A.K. Antony said on Saturday the air force would be allowed to do so “after evolving necessary safeguards and procedures”.
The government wants to make sure the rules of engagement do not cause any collateral damage (civilians getting killed in the crossfire).
The IAF will be deploying Garud commandos on board its choppers operating in Naxal-hit areas to defend against attacks.
Antony reiterated that the military would not be used to carry out offensive operations against Naxals.
In Raichur, Karnataka, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh too ruled out the use of the army against Maoists.