Antony moots use of Army in fighting Naxals

A well informed source said Singh and Antony discussed the role of the army in assisting paramilitary troopers in the anti-Maoist operations in east and central India, where the Left-wing extremists have grown in strength striking at security forces and civilians with impunity.

Antony later told reporters that the government will carefully examine the issue but didn’t rule it out. “You cannot have a debate about it in public. We will take the decision after carefully studying it,” said the defence minister.

The meeting between the army chief and the minister comes a day after a Maoist sabotage caused a train accident in West Bengal leaving more than 100 people dead. This was the biggest attack on civilians by the rebels after they slaughtered 76 security men on April 6.
Sources said the army is almost ready to move into Maoist dominated areas and is waiting for the political decision about it. “The force is finalising its plans to meet any contingency. They may have to step in,” said an official.

The army is presently giving training, surveillance and logistical support to the central paramilitary troopers in their ongoing anti-Maoist operations. It is establishing two sub-area headquarters at Ambarda on the Orissa-West Bengal border and Jagdalpur in Chhattisgarh. Though the sub-area headquarters would be static, they are likely to help if army units are deployed in the region.

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