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Maoists ready for modern warfare

India: Maoists have geared up for modern warfare. They have developed GIS which help them in quick deployment of forces and can be used for precision strikes through air and guided missiles. They also use Internet and Google Earth for collecting information. They have digitised topographical maps of the survey of India and are eyeing the security data of the security agencies, according to Balraj Puri, Director, Institute of Jammu and Kashmir Affairs, Jammu in his article, Understanding the Maoist Threat and Dealing with It.

After the massacre of 76 security persons in Dantewade in Bastar, a part of the Chhattisgarh State, a sort of war began between the government and the Maoists which, according to P. Chidambaram, Union Home Minister, Government of India, was started by the latter, more so in the mindset of the combatants. The latest is a train blast in Jnaneshwari Express in the Midnapur area of West Bengal, alleged to be the handiwork of the Maoists; it took a toll of about 150 human lives.
In the 1990s, Maoists were active in only 15 of the 650 districts of the country. Now, according to the Home Minister, they are operating in 200 districts in India —covering the entire tribal belt in states like Andhra, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Orissa, Jharkhand, Bihar and West Bengal. They are reported to have established contacts with the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) and other insurgents in the North-East. They thus constitute, in the words of the Prime Minister, the greatest internal security threat.

The emphasis of the policy-makers was to strengthen the security forces. The Dantewada debacle was attributed by the security agencies and commentators mainly to inadequate training, particularly in jungle warfare, of the CRPF jawans, ill-equipped weapons, lack of knowledge about the local terrain, no contacts with the local people and poor intelligence.

Some decisions have been taken to make up these deficiencies. The number of security forces was increased by over 30,000, apart from training 47,000 police and paramilitary personnel. They are being provided better weapons and training. When the Chiefs of the Army and Air Force advised against the use of their help in combat operations, the government enlisted the services of the ISRO to map the locations and movements of the insurgents. After the train blast of May 29, the Army Chief met the Home Minister and the armed forces finalised an action plan “to meet any emergency if their role in anti-Naxalite operations is extended beyond the present training, surveillance and logistics.” The Army Chief said: “If the government orders, we will step in and take the lead.”

Source: Mainstream