Even as the government prepared for a major offensive against the Naxals, Home Minister P Chidambaram on Wednesday made it clear that helicopters will not be used for operations against the Maoists.
"The helicopters will be primarily used for evacuation and transportation of security forces. They will not be used for
any offensive action," he told reporters here.
Asked about Defence Minister A K Antony's statement that Indian Air Force helicopters would be given permission to open fire in self-defence, Chidambaram said he did not see any contradiction of policies between the Home and the Defence Ministries.
"If the Defence Minister has said that the IAF will fire in self defence, then that is the policy," he said.
Last week, Antony had said that the IAF would be given permission to open fire in self-defence during anti-Naxal operations after carefully preparing procedures and safeguards.
The Defence Minister had, however, said there was no proposal to engage the IAF in a combat role in the operations.
The Cabinet Committee of Security (CCS) on Thursday had approved the Government's new plan to counter Maoists under which the affected states will have an effective coordinated mechanism with police taking a lead role.