The Central Reserve Police Force has asked for Border Security Force helicopters for the war against Maoists, especially after the assembly polls in Jharkhand end on December 18.
India’s largest paramilitary force, the CRPF, will deploy more forces in Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand and has requested the government for as many as 10 helicopters during the operations.
The BSF, which guards the 3,268-km-long Indo-Pak and 4,096-km-long Indo-Bangladesh borders, will press into service most of its helicopters for the job.
“We have planned to use BSF helicopters for deployment, airlifting and evacuation of our troops during the operations. We may also take help of the Air Force,” said CRPF director general A. S. Gill.
Till a few months ago, the BSF had a fleet of six MI-17 helicopters and two Embraer aircraft. By March 2010, the force will induct eight more helicopters and three other aircraft for transporting men and material and patrolling the borders.
The BSF will acquire eight Dhruv Advanced Light Helicopters from Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, besides a big transport plane and two small aircraft.
Asked whether the paramilitary forces would use Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) for surveillance and gathering intelligence on Maoist movements, the CRPF chief said, “We'll be using whatever equipment we can. That may include UAVs as well.”
In Jharkhand on Wednesday, a landmine blast suspected to have been triggered by Naxalites killed a CISF jawan during the second round of polling.
Soon after the Jharkhand polls, nearly 50 battalions of paramilitary forces, including the CRPF (41 battalions), BSF (5 battalions) and the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (4 battalions) will be deployed along with state police, especially in
Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh.