Indian anti-insurgency force to be equipped with more advanced weapons

NEW DELHI, March 21-- The Indian Home Ministry will arm its anti-insurgency paramilitary force, the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), with guerrilla warfare weapons and hi-tech equipment, after suffering heavy casualties last year, said the local newspaper Mail Today on Saturday.
    CRPF's Combat Battalion for Resolute Action commandoes, who were deployed in terrorist and insurgency-affected areas, suffered heavy casualties in their fighting with rebels last year, said the report without giving specific figures.
    The CRPF is a paramilitary security force functioning under the aegis of Ministry of Home Affairs, with its primary role lying in assisting regional police forces to maintain law and order and contain insurgency.
    The CRPF has for the first time ever invited international bidding for modern 5.6mm carbines, 24,000 bullet proof helmets, over 300 explosive detectors, and another 300 cable locator equipment to counter rebels and terrorists, said the newspaper.
    Some 700 men of the force are being trained for guerrilla combat tactics in Silchar, Assam in northeast India, and in Coimbatore in the southern state of Tamil Nadu, before being sent to the central state of Chhattisgarh and eastern state of Orissa, both troubled by insurgency problems, the newspaper said.
    Official statistics say more than 700 people were killed in clashes between left-wing rebels and government forces in India last year. Most of the clashes took place in some central and eastern states of India.
    Meanwhile, the official number of casualties from clashes between separatists and government forces in the country is unknown.