Mr. Vijayakumar said the force had inducted the state-of-the-art Israeli-made Special Forces weapon, the Tavor-21 assault rifle, for its 10 elite Commando Battalion for Resolute Action.

K. Vijayakumar, Director General of Police, Central Reserve Police Force, has said that the paramilitary force is on the fast track to modernisation and its combat battalions are quickly inducting the latest firearms and reconnaissance equipment to effectively deter armed insurgents with lesser casualties and collateral damage.

He was speaking to The Hindu at the CRPF’s additional training centre at Pallipuram here.

Mr. Vijayakumar said the force had inducted the state-of-the-art Israeli-made Special Forces weapon, the Tavor-21 assault rifle, for its 10 elite Commando Battalion for Resolute Action (COBRA), engaged in counter insurgency operations in different regions of the country. CRPF combatants now relied more on night-vision equipment and other electronic sensors to locate and neutralise armed extremist and militant groups.

The CRPF had rid several remote areas in Jharkhand, Bihar, and other States of armed Maoist groups. However, left-wing extremists continued to remain strong in certain pockets.

The paramilitary force was striving to win the “hearts and minds” of rural communities in these regions by ushering in development and giving free medical aid and education.

He said several armed insurgent groups thrived on money extorted from groups ranging from subsistence-level farmers to illegal miners. Efforts were on to stamp out the supply lines of such groups, including networks that provided arms, ammunition, and provisions.

The CRPF would raise one more battalion of women combatants, taking the total number of women soldiers in the force to nearly 3,000. The force was committed to increasing the number of women among its ranks and officer cadre, he said.

Mr. Vijayakumar, who gained fame as head of the Special Task Force that eliminated forest brigand Veerappan in a midnight encounter in 2004, was at the centre to attend the passing-out parade of 919 recruit trainees. He interacted with the families of the recruits.

Union Minister of State for Home Mullappally Ramachandran took the salute at the parade. Special Director General of Police, Operations, CRPF, P.M. Nair; Deputy Inspector General of Police, ATC, Ajay Bharathan; and Chief Training Officer B. Jayakrishnan were present.