New Delhi: "We will use only small arms, not guns fitted on helicopters, to fire back at the Naxals." That's what the Chief of Air Staff has clarified in an interview to NDTV.
Speaking exclusively to NDTV's Defence Editor Nitin Gokhale, Air Chief Marshal P V Naik says there'll be strict rules followed if the government agrees to his request to return fire when dealing with Naxals. "If I am being used against Naxals or whoever, conditions under which my boys will fire are very stern - no use of excessive force, positive identification of the adversary and tactical maneuvering of the area, because collateral damage is unacceptable."
Naik also says that, "Armed forces should not be used for internal security."
Sources say one of the government's main concerns about letting the Air Force fire back at Naxals is how to protect tribals in Naxal-infected areas.
The Air Chief also says he is increasing security along the border with China: "Our capability build up is not adversary-specific, but we are now stepping up creation of bases and infrastructure all along the Chinese border. We will also base more Su-30, our best fighter jets in the East."