Sources said there is no scope of using the armed forces against Maoists. Over the last decades, security operations in Maoist-hit areas are being conducted by the Central Reserve Police Force or CRPF.
In Chhattisgarh alone, the paramilitary force has lost nearly 200 men since 2010 -- 25 of them in yesterday's ambush. In March, after 12 CRPF men were killed, Union Minister Rajnath Singh said it was a sign of the "frustration" of the Maoists because of the "unprecedented success" of the security operations against them.
Yesterday, the minister said the government was taking the attack as a "challenge".
Nearly 300 Maoists, armed with rocket launchers and AK-47s, had ambushed a group of 99 CRPF men, who were on an area sanitization mission for an under-construction road. In the 3-hour gun-battle that followed, 25 CRPF men had died, six were critically injured. Most of the commandos who died were part of a small group that had sat down for lunch.
The government says over the last year, the attacks in Maoist-hit areas have dwindled. The number of Maoist-affected districts has shrink from 108 to 68. In 2016, no attack has taken place in 40 districts. Sukma, part of Chhattisgarh's south Bastar, is still part of the Maoist strongholds.