M A I N   N E W S

Maoist attack: Air Chief takes a swipe at MHA
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Bangalore, February 7
In the ongoing war of words between the Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of Home Affairs, Indian Air Force Chief Air Chief Marshal NAK Browne today advised the MHA against indulging in a blame game as it could affect the war against Naxals. “This was not the way to function,” he said.

Sniping at each other could lead to a division among security forces-a scenario that would be liked by the Maoists, he said.

The IAF chief was referring to the January 18 incident when Maoists fired at an IAF MI-17 chopper on a rescue mission in Chhattisgarh. Home Secretary RK Singh had written to his counterpart in the Defence Ministry wanting to know what action had been taken against two IAF pilots who left behind an injured wireless operator of the Chhattisgarh Police. He described the IAF crew’s conduct as “extremely disturbing” and questioned battle hardiness. The letter had got leaked.

“The pilots did a great job in landing the choppers safely. The hydraulic system had been affected by bullets and the fuel (from the chopper engines overhead) had flooded the cabin,” said the IAF Chief while publicly countering the Home Secretary here today.

In a response to question by reporters at the Aero India show, the IAF Chief said, “In operations like these we all have to work as a team. I was surprised that letter by the Home Secretary reached the media.” He expressed full commitment to anti-Naxal operations saying the IAF had undertaken around 6,000 sorties and carried out 172 rescue missions.

In a clear show of his displeasure, the IAF Chief said: “If we keep sniping like this there will be a division between security forces. The Maoists will be very happy to have divisions. The same thing happened in the Valley (J&K) and is still happening in the Valley”. “I do not think this is the way to function in a situation like this,” he said.

Asked if his comments were directed at the Home Secretary, he said it was for “all the agencies working there. The lesson that we all have to draw is that we all have to work together as a team in one direction instead of finding faults in one incident.”


  • Six IAF personnel allegedly abandoned an injured Chhattisgarh police wireless operator in Sukma district of Chhattisgarh on January 18
  • The men were travelling in an Mi-17 helicopter that made an emergency landing due to firing by the Maoists
  • Union Home Secretary RK Singh sent a letter to Defence Secretary Shashi Kant Sharma seeking a probe into the incident
  • RK Singh had asserted that the IAF personnel’s action was disturbing and reflected on their battle hardiness





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