KERALA

CRPF on a modernisation drive

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM Nov. 13. The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) is all set to acquire state-of-the-art weapons training systems as part of an intense drive to sharpen its counter-insurgency and anti-terrorist combat skills.

Speaking to The Hindu, the Inspector General of Police (CRPF) (Training and Operation), K.T.D. Singh, said the training modules of the CRPF were being upgraded and restructured to take on the responsibility of counter-insurgency and anti-terrorist operations in affected parts of the country, including Jammu and Kashmir where more than 80 per cent of the Central force is at present deployed.

The CRPF hopes to relieve the Indo Tibetan Border Force (ITBF) and the Border Security Force (BSF) from the responsibility of fighting insurgents and terrorists. It will work along with units such as the Rashtriya Rifles and the Assam Rifles in anti-terrorist combat operations.

``To taken on such responsibilities, the CRPF recruits, constables as well as officers, are being put through advanced combat drills which have been structured utilising the vast experience we have gathered fighting terrorists in Kashmir and the North East," he said.

The CRPF will soon install an interactive Small Arms Training Simulator (SATS) at its Recruit Training Centres (RTCs) in the country, including in Kerala. Mr. Singh said the weapon simulator would help instructors put trainees through various combat scenarios and evaluate their performance. The recruit can understand what is wrong with his firing, why he got `shot' and how he has to effect remedial measures to improve his combat skills. Mr. Singh said the simulator will complement the weapons training given to recruits using live ammunition. The CRPF already has installed an Infantry Weapons Effect Simulator System (IWES) and Small Arms Training Simulator (SATS) at its RTC facilities in the country, he said.

Mr. Singh said the CRPF men were being given the opportunity to acquaint themselves with night vision devices, satellite telephony and Global Positioning System (GPS)-equipped communication tools as part of the drive. The Self-Loading Rifles (SLRs) of the CRPF are being replaced with the modern state-of- the-art INSAS 5.56 mm assault rifles. Training was also being given in the handling of AK-47 assault rifles, rocket propelled grenade launchers and mortars, he said.

The emphasis is on ensuring that CRPF men have a high level of physical endurance to execute long marches through treacherous and hostile terrain. "They are being taught how to remain inside forests and patrol hills for days without betraying their position and by living practically of the land," he said.

Every year, three select CRPF battalions are being trained alongside military personnel at the School of Counter Insurgency and Jungle Warfare in Mizoram. The CRPF has mustered its own resources and established a School of Counter Insurgency and Anti-Terrorism at Dayapur in Assam where the first batch of CRPF personnel has started training on November 1. The CRPF has also given a proposal to start two more Recruit Training Centres (RTCs) in the country.

Mr. Singh said the work on the new Recruit Training Centre (RTC) complex in Kannur was fast progressing. The CRPF RTC in Thiruvananthapuram was being shifted to Kannur owing to lack of adequate space at the existing centre. A new RTC complex in 275 acres at Kannur is to become operational in about three years.

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