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Friday, 9 June, 2000, 09:48 GMT 10:48 UK
India boosts Tripura troops
Indian troops
Regular army troops cannot be spared
By Subir Bhaumik in Calcutta

The Indian Government has promised to deploy an additional 3,000 paramilitary troops in the troubled north-eastern state of Tripura.

Returning from a two-day trip to Tripura, the Indian Home Secretary Kamal Pandey told journalists that three additional battalions of paramilitary forces would soon be deployed in Tripura to fight the separatist rebels.

Tripura map
But he said that Delhi was in no position to deploy regular army battalions in Tripura, as they were required in Kashmir.

The Tripura state government, under considerable pressure to check the upsurge in rebel violence, has demanded the deployment of at least five army battalions in the state to fight the rebels.

Recent violence has left more than 51 people dead in the space of just one month.

The state's Chief Minister, Manik Sarkar, has said that only the army was competent to launch massive counterinsurgency operations, as it had done in the neighbouring state of Assam.

Proper deployment

The Indian Home Secretary said nearly 20,000 central paramilitary troops were deployed in Tripura along with close to 10,000 state armed policemen.

He also said that the state has also about 8,000 border guards who cover the state's border with Bangladesh.

Mr Pandey said it was more important to properly deploy these troops rather than pump in more battalions into the state, since there were only 800 tribal insurgents they were fighting against .

He also said it was important to improve the quality of intelligence and use more and more troops for offensive operations rather than tie them to static security duties like guarding villages or VIPs.

Mr Pandey said the rebel groups in Tripura were welcome to come forward for talks with Delhi, only if they attached no pre-conditions.

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See also:

07 Jun 00 | South Asia
Government probes Tripura security
21 May 00 | South Asia
Analysis: Tripura's tribal strife
10 May 00 | South Asia
Hostages released in Tripura
14 Apr 00 | South Asia
Three killed by Tripura rebels
24 Mar 00 | South Asia
Tripura rebels kill five
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