Dimapur, Nagaland, India, 26 April 2006 – In a decision that can change the nature and scale of counter-insurgency operations in the Northeast states of India, the Army has resolved to use high-resolution satellite photographs from the Google Earth search engine. The decision to subscribe to Google Earth, the website that can display maps and visuals through satellite imagery, was taken by the Indian Army’s 3 Corps based at Rangapahar.
The army will acquire a paid account in Google Earth to gain access to “extra information” over what is available free on the website. The search engine has two paid versions, Google Earth Plus and Google Earth Pro. Army sources admitted that the Google pictures may not exactly show the militant hideouts, as most of them are located deep inside forests. They, however, added that the satellite pictures would be able to pick out the green cover and the terrain clearly, enabling the forces to plan much better. They said it would be like flying over the area physically, instead of depending on two dimensional contour or relief maps.
With the high-tech add-on, the army will be logistically better off. In towns like Imphal, the army will be able to get the latest satellite pictures and have a close range idea of the town on a sustained basis. The move will help both India and Myanmar, sources said. The Myanmar army is now acting against Indian rebels operating from its soil.