Saturday, August 30, 2008

Ten CoBRA battalions to be raised for tackling Maoists

New Delhi, Aug 29 (IANS) To tackle the growing Maoist threat, the government for the first time would raise ten Commando Battalions for Resolute Action (CoBRA) in the Central Reserve Police Force during the next three years.“Each CoBRA battalion will have 1,057 personnel and a more than 10,000-strong force of commandos will be available in the next three years,” a home ministry official here said Friday.

“For immediate response, these Battalions will be deployed at the most affected areas of the states. The force will be manned by young personnel with peak combat fitness, who will be provided specialized training and equipment for guerrilla tactics and jungle warfare,” the official added.

The project involves an expenditure of more than Rs.13 billion.

According to the home ministry official: “The government has been taking series of measures to strengthen the country’s internal security mechanism to face various challenges. Guerrilla tactics used by left wing extremists and other militant and extremist groups is one of them.”

Several hundred people, including civilians, policemen and rebels, have been killed in Maoist violence across India since the beginning of the year.

“To tackle that at both Centre and state level, the need for raising such a force was felt,” he added.

The official further stated that under the scheme of additional financial assistance, Rs.30 million per company would be provided to the states that are facing problems of militancy to raise two companies on commando pattern in each of the 44 India Reserve Battalions approved between 2007-08 to 2010-11.

“Assistance to the states is proposed separately under the 11th Five Year Plan to provide training in counter-insurgency and anti-terrorism by setting up 20 training centres in five states,” the official added.

The four existing training centres of the Central Para Military Forces will also be upgraded for providing training in guerrilla warfare and jungle survival to the personnel of CoBRA Battalions by creation of additional infrastructure to train about 2,800 persons per year

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