No ‘Rambo style ‘ offensive against Maoists, IAF says


New Delhi : The Indian Air Force (IAF) said Thursday that it was not contemplating a “Rambo style” offensive against the Maoists.

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Speaking on the sidelines of the Air Force Day parade, Air Chief Marshal P.V. Naik said that IAF request for permission to fire in self defence did not mean an all-out “armed offensive” against the people of India.

He said the force was only taking counter measures to defend itself against firing from the ground by Maoist guerrillas who are increasingly becoming aggressive across the country.

“We have approached the government to fire in self defence to protect ourself. It is not free for all where you go like Rambo and fire at everybody. There are laid down procedures. You have to ensure minimum use of force, minimum collateral damage, firing has to be permitted by the captain of the helicopter and so on,” Naik told reporters here.

IAF helicopters providing air support and non-offensive roles in Maoist affected areas have been fired at in the past. The IAF has carried out surveillance, reconnaissance and casualty evacuations during anti-Maoist operations.

On Nov 14 last year, the IAF lost an aircrew when Maoists fired at a Mi-8 helicopter in Pedia in Chhattisgarh’s Bastar region.

The IAF has sought permission from the defence ministry to fire in self-defence.

“We are not indulging in armed offensive against the people of India. We are trying to protect our men, women and crew who fly these machines,” said Naik.

“In the helicopters going for anti-Naxal operations the measures will be taken in self defence. The first being armour, then body armour for the crew, tactical maneuvering and sanitisation of place before taking off and landing by the local agencies,” said Naik.

However, once permission is granted, the IAF will mount guns manned by Garud, the IAF’s special force, the chief revealed.