Union Home Secretary G K Pillai on Friday branded Maoists as terrorists and said he had no sympathy for them, as he called their latest attack on a passenger train in Jharkhand as a "cowardly act".
Pillai also ruled out air attacks on Maoists holed up in forests and hilly terrain.
"CPI-Maoist is a terrorist organisation. There is no difference between terrorists and Maoists. They are making railway stations, trains, mobile towers and schools soft targets. They also held up a train in West Bengal. I have no sympathy for them," Pillai said after a meeting with senior Orissa government officials in Bhubaneswar to review the Maoist situation in the state.
About strategies to deal with Maoists, Pillai said, "There is no need for aerial attack on Maoists."
Pillai's remarks came just four days after the Ministry of Home Affairs indicated deployment of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) to strike at naxal hideouts in forests of Chhattisgarh, Orissa, Jharkhand and West Bengal.
He also said coordinated operations by different states along with central help could certainly defeat the Maoists' plan.
The states had also started sharing intelligence among them, he said, but most continued to remain under-policed.
On Maoists using arms made in China, Pillai said illegal arms trade had emerged as a big business in the world. "Maoists are getting arms from China, Bangladesh and Myanmyar."
He clarified that he had not at any point of time stated that a Chinese government agency was behind arms supply to Maoists.