Peoples War in India Clippings 9/3/2013

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MHA unhappy with CRPF performance

For the men fighting the Maoist insurgency, 2013 has been a bad year. After losing ten men in Jharkhand’s Latehar district in the first week of the year, an internal study of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) compiled by the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) has revealed that the forces are losing their grip on the Red brigade. A copy of this assessment accessed, examines the performance of the forces over the last two years in the nine ‘affected’ states, manages to hit newer ground.

Performance dips

While in 2011, 72 Maoists were killed, in 2012, forces could achieve only 50 ‘kills’. Worryingly, the number of men from the CRPF, the lead agency in the anti-Maoist operations, killed rose from 26 in 2011 to 37 last year. Not surprisingly CRPF’s kill ratio, has dropped to 1.35 in 2012 as against 2.77 in 2011. The states where the CRPF lost most men last year were Maharashtra (13), Bihar (11), Chattisgarh (7), Jharkhand (4), Andhra Pradesh (2) and West Bengal (2). Casualties have drastically reduced in Chattisgarh and Jharkhand. ‘Conversion’ ratio, measured as number of kills achieved per encounter, too sees the CRPF suffering a reversal with only 50 rebels killed in 148 encounters, achieving a ratio of 0.34 against 72 deaths in 161 encounters, a ratio of 0.43.

IEDs most lethal

Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), the most preferred weapon of the Maoists, have proved themselves yet again. “More than 62% of our deaths are on account of the IEDs, which either hit our MPVs or are anti-personnel mines,” said a senior MHA official. In 2012, the rebels had blasted a CRPF van in Maharashtra and a Mine Protection Vehicle (MPV) in Bihar. Sources added that despite so many casualties, only now the CRPF has managed to float a new tender for better MPVs. “Maoists know our MPVs so well that they are able to blast them with ease. Yet we have been very slow,” he said.

Cross-border operations picking up

Maoist insurgents often known to seek sanctuaries by exploiting inter-state boundaries, are now facing intensive efforts. “Maximum cooperation exists today between Jharkhand and surrounding states. Results between Uttar-Pradesh-Bihar, Andhra Pradesh-Chattisgarh, & Maharashtra-Chattisgarh too are picking up,” said an officer. The number of apprehensions too have dropped from around 1683 in 2011 to 1358 in 2012, with Bihar (346) leading the way followed by Jharkhand (263), Andhra Pradesh (239), Odisha (131), Chattisgarh (127) and Maharashtra (102). “The problem is in convicting those apprehended. In the Dantewada massacre of 2010, where we lost 76 personnel, ten were arrested but were acquitted due to lack of evidence,” recounted a senior CRPF officer.

Home Ministry pitches for more resources

Informed sources said that the MHA has cleared several purchases for the CRPF including Light Machine Guns (LMGs), Night Vision Devices (NVDs), Under Barrel Grenade Launchers (UBGL) and assault rifles. “Also, we are improving our coordination, cross border operations and tactics. We are in a much better shape than in the past,” said a senior officer. Admitting to the findings, a source said, “We are hitting the Naxals where they were known to be invincible like Abujmadh in Chattisgarh and Saranda in Jharkhand. These statistics should not dampen our spirits.

It was also learnt that the MHA has tasked the CRPF with preparation of encounter reports on monthly and quarterly basis to have a better grip on things. Of all paramilitary forces, CRPF has maximum deployment in Naxal-affected areas with over 75 battalions (50,000 men) spread across nine states Survey studied data from nine states over last two years 2010 was by far the worst year, with the CRPF losing over 150 men Lack of human and technical intelligence remains the biggest handicap

http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/home-ministry-unhappy-with-crpf-anti-maoist-strategy-report/1/257166.html

 

Home ministry to get 8 choppers for anti-Naxal operations

NEW DELHI: The Cabinet Committee on Security has cleared the acquisition of eight armour-plated, medium-lift Mi-17 V5 helicopters from Russia for the use of the home ministry and paramilitary forces in the ongoing anti-Naxal operations. The eight Mi-17 V5 helicopters, which are weaponised and capable of operating during the night, come even as the IAF is inducting 139 such helicopters for its own use. IAF had first ordered 80 Mi-17 V5 helicopters under a $1.34 billion deal inked with Russia in 2008.

The IAF follow-on order for 59 more such helicopters will now be extended to include eight for the home ministry. The proposed induction of the new helicopters by the home ministry will, however, not lead to a change in the “rules of engagement”. IAF has deployed six older versions of the Mi-17 V5 helicopters for logistical support to paramilitary and police forces in the anti-Naxal operations but its personnel are allowed to fire only in self-defence if they come under attack. The government has firmly ruled out any “offensive air operations” against the left-wing extremists.

Incidentally, a Mi-17 helicopter was forced to crash-land after coming under fire from the Maoists on January 18 in the Sukma district of Chhattisgarh, with a controversy erupting over the IAF crew leaving behind an injured policeman with the disabled helicopter. A court of inquiry is currently underway to look into the incident. NEW DELHI: The Cabinet Committee on Security has cleared the acquisition of eight armour-plated, medium-lift Mi-17 V5 helicopters from Russia for the use of the home ministry and paramilitary forces in the ongoing anti-Naxal operations.

The eight Mi-17 V5 helicopters, which are weaponised and capable of operating during the night, come even as the IAF is inducting 139 such helicopters for its own use. IAF had first ordered 80 Mi-17 V5 helicopters under a $1.34 billion deal inked with Russia in 2008. The IAF follow-on order for 59 more such helicopters will now be extended to include eight for the home ministry. The proposed induction of the new helicopters by the home ministry will, however, not lead to a change in the “rules of engagement”. IAF has deployed six older versions of the Mi-17 V5 helicopters for logistical support to paramilitary and police forces in the anti-Naxal operations but its personnel are allowed to fire only in self-defence if they come under attack.

The government has firmly ruled out any “offensive air operations” against the left-wing extremists. Incidentally, a Mi-17 helicopter was forced to crash-land after coming under fire from the Maoists on January 18 in the Sukma district of Chhattisgarh, with a controversy erupting over the IAF crew leaving behind an injured policeman with the disabled helicopter. A court of inquiry is currently underway to look into the incident.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Home-ministry-to-get-8-choppers-for-anti-Naxal-operations/articleshow/18872015.cms

Why MHA’s UAV mission may just be impossible

Stonewalled for over a year and a half by the spy-agency National Technological Research Organisation (NTRO), the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has tasked the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) with procuring the vital Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) for anti-Naxal operations. While fully justified in being upset with the spy agency, there are not many takers for the MHA’s move to duplicate assets. Sources say the MHA proposal will face a tough scrutiny when it reaches the Finance ministry. Notwithstanding that, the opposition to this comes from not just on the exorbitant price tags but also on account of the complexity of the task involved. Adding a yet another question mark to this move, sources within the NTRO said that there was a reason behind the delay.

“For over a year now, we have been working on creating the right infrastructure for a base in northern Chattisgarh. It is a location which suits the CRPF which had a problem with us flying solely out of Hyderabad. Today, it is possible to operate out of that base in a couple of months, which means your problem is largely solved,” said a source. If the spy agency is to be believed, it has re-shuffled its fleet of UAVs to ensure that the planes dedicated for anti-Naxal operations can be doubled by the end of the year.

Elaborating on the complexity of maintaining and operating UAVs, a senior officer mentioned, “To operate a full-fledged UAV, the set up required is quite daunting right from satellites, encryption experts, data analysts, controllers etc. Even the NTRO, which is under the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) is struggling to find trained manpower which is why they are relying on the Indian Air Force (IAF) personnel on deputation to man their UAVs.” NTRO, an officer said, had additional duties too apart from anti-Naxal issue.

“We would be glad to be relieved of this as there are other missions that are suffering but we can’t help but feel that this will be a suicidal one.” Major General (Retd) Dhruv Katoch, Director, Centre for Land Warfare Studies (CLAWS) mentioned, “I am all for providing the man of the ground with mini-UAVs which are of tactical use and can be carried by the troops. MHA should allow the CRPF to procure that. But beyond that, it is the NTRO which has the capability. The CRPF has little use investing in such high-tech systems.” ‘MHA’s acquisition is on-track’ Documents accessed show that the Home Secretary (HS) is firm on acquiring these assets. In a review meet held on December 21, 2012, RK Singh had in fact termed the UAVs as ‘inescapable need for anti-naxal operations.’

HS had further stressed that, ‘sufficient numbers of UAVs be acquired so that we are not dependent on others. These UAVs should be operated by the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) themselves.’ A senior officer on the condition of anonymity stated, “We are at an advanced stage of executing what the HS has told us to do.” Major General RK (Retd) RK Arora, Editor of the Indian Military Review (IMR), mentioned, “CRPF needs more than mini-UAVs. There are operations when you need to simply hover over an area and maintain a vigil. Thus a tactical UAV capability is a must.” CRPF mini-UAV acquisition hits a road block It was reliably learnt that under the HS’s order, the CRPF was trying to acquire two mini-UAVs Israeli-made Skylark. However, the defence Public Sector Undertaking (PSU), Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), which will import and assemble the mini-UAVs has quoted a very high figure above the import cost, causing the proposal to raise too many eyebrows.

http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/mha-uav-mission-anti-naxal-operations-impossible-ntro-crpf/1/257165.html

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