Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Maoists strikes again - Three CRPF members killed in two separate incidents

Demonstration of the 'One Minute Drill' by CRPF
Blood again started flowing through the roads of Chhattisgarh's Bijapur and Dantewada districts in the form of IED blasts. On Monday (August 06, 2012) two CRPF commandos killed in an IED blast, two days before another IED blew up an anti-landmine vehicle (August 04, 2012 - Dantewada, Chhattisgarh) and killed one security personal.

I think Maoists triggered this blast to show their strength especially after CRPF increased their operations in Maoist strongholds. It’s not the first time Maoists are using IED's to blow up vehicles of security personals. In these forest areas - where not much alternate routes are available - security personals often become a prey for IED.

Let's analyse the facts.

The second blast on August 6 was happened when CRPF commandos where bringing rations to their base. Notice the type of vehicle they used - it’s a Tata-407. This blast killed two. From the news reports it’s not clear how many people where there in the vehicle.

Earlier one on August 4 which blew up a Mine Protected Vehicle (MPV) killed one while some others were injured. According to the reports this blast happened when an 80 personal group were on patrol.

Now my question is why we are using Tata-407 for transporting rations? Even if its costly, isn't better to use heavy lift helicopters for bringing in the supplies? Using this we can skip the vulnerable transportation through the ground. As Maoists are not known to possess anti-aircraft missiles air-lifting the supplies offer better protection for the force as well as supply chain.

The saga of MPV (Mine protected vehicles) is not so good with CRPF in the Maoist hit areas. According to some reports the MPV's manufactured by Government Company and one private company can withstand only 21-24kg of explosives. However Maoists now-a-days Maoists are using 80kgs of explosives while targeting MPVs (MSN India #3) which will make the current MPV's useless. Apart from this problem current MPV's in CRPF's arsenal are much more vulnerable if the blast happens at rear wheel area.

MRAPs role in Iraq and Afghanistan

The cousin of MPVs, Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles were very much helpful for marines in Iraq as well as in Afghanistan. According to USA Today report, "As U.S. troop deaths from IEDs have soared to more than 1,500, defence officials who had shown little interest in MRAPs as recently as last fall have made the vehicles their top purchasing priority. The Pentagon has ordered about 6,400 MRAPs this year at $500,000 or more apiece and vows to buy thousands more to replace the less heavily armored Humvees as its all-purpose vehicle in Iraq." - February, 2007.

In 2008 USA Today wrote, 'In May, 11 U.S. troops were killed by blasts from improvised explosive devices (IEDs) compared with 92 in May 2007, records show. That's an 88% decrease".

One of the main reasons they identified was,

"New vehicles. Almost 7,000 heavily armored Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles have been rushed to Iraq in the last year. "They've taken hits, many, many hits that would have killed soldiers and marines in uparmored Humvees," Adm. Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in a recent interview. - June 2008

So in this situation I think it will be a good idea to acquire MRV/MRAP's which can withstood much stronger IED blasts. If these vehicles can prove their role in mine clearance as well as in mine protection, they will be very much useful, mobile and safe in the insurgent hit areas of Central India. There are a number of MRAP's like Cougar, RG 33, Caiman from General Dynamics Land Systems, BAE Systems Land Systems etc. Some of them are proved their utility in the insurgent hit Afghanistan and Iraq.

CRPF and IED's

CRPF recovered 1,547 IEDs during 2006-11, and the number is not going to reduce. IED are killing many Jawans every year. If we are not able to find a way to overcome this situation then there may be more IED blasts which will bleed the nation.



1. Two CRPF commandos killed in IED blast - The Statesman
2. Two CRPF commandos killed in IED blast: Hindustan Times
3. Mine protected vehicles reduced to ''coffin on wheels'' in Naxal - MSN India

Photo Courtesy: Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF)

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