Army intensifies intel operations in Red belt

Josy Joseph, TNN, Jun 17, 2010, 05.41am IST
NEW DELHI: The Indian Army is not a combatant in the anti-Naxalite offensive as yet, but it is readying nearly 5 divisions for the purpose — in the imminent likelihood of being pressed into the fight. The Army’s anti-Naxal training module focuses on acquiring intimate knowledge of the topography and the tactics used by Maoists. All this would require the sodiers to unlearn many of the lessons imparted to them for conventional warfare, and use tactics different from those in vogue in J&K and northeast.

The Army, which has already identified four senior officers for appointment as security advisors to the worst Naxal-affected states, plans to keep the specially-trained divisions in “ready-to-deploy” condition. For that, it is pulling out troop components from artillery, armoured and other arms to put them through the new training module. Besides, the infantry units returning from counter-insurgency deployments in Kashmir and northeast will be put through the new training schedule once they have had enough rest and recuperation, sources said.

As a prelude to the eventual deployment, the Army has already stepped up its intelligence gathering capabilities in the Naxal belt. It traditionally never had any intelligence networks in the tribal areas of central India. To fill the gap, Central Command soldiers who understand tribal languages, have been deploying for intelligence gathering and analysis.

Authoritative sources said the four brigadiers, with extensive experience in counter-insurgency operations in northeast and Kashmir, have been identified for deputation to the Union home ministry. These officers will be appointed as security advisors to the unified commands, comprising paramilitary and state polices, that are being set up in Orissa, Jharkhand, West Bengal and Chhattisgarh.

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