A day after Maoists massacred 35 people in Chhattisgarh, Home Minister P Chidambaram on Tuesday supported the idea of providing air support to help security forces hunting for the insurgents in the forested areas.
"There should be provision for air surveillance," Chidambaram told CNN-IBN news channel, indicating the government was set to review its anti-Maoist policy and examine the feasibility of using choppers for combing thickly forested areas where Maoists hold sway.
The central government now uses helicopters only to transport security personnel and evacuate victims of Maoist violence.
"We are likely to examine the feasibility of heli-combing and using heli-gunships to counter the Maoist menace," a senior home ministry official said earlier on Tuesday.
The government has been resisting the demand from various states to use the army and air force to tackle Maoists fearing this could lead to heavy civilian casualties, say security experts.
However, the government is now opening up to the idea of using choppers for combing the area and allowing security personnel to fire from helicopters, said the home ministry official.