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A new breed of fighters against Naxals

Last updated on: January 24, 2011 13:18 IST

A new breed of fighters against Naxals

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Security forces deployed for anti-Naxal operations will soon be assisted by a specialised breed of imported Belgian shepherd dogs in 'infantry patrols' and also to provide pre-ambush warning to the troops.

Almost seven such "Malinois" breed dogs have been trained by the premier police dog training centre of the paramilitary Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) at their academy near Chandigarh for about 22 weeks.

This is the first time that police and central security forces will be using canines in operations in the Naxal hotbeds of the country, a practice in line with the Israeli defence forces.

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Image: File photo of a Begian Shephard Malinois
Photographs: Creative Commons/Pleple2000
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The dogs will now be deployed for anti-Naxal duties in states of Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand where forces like CRPF, BSF and ITBP have had more than 300 casualties in the last year in Maoist attacks, a senior officer at the headquarters of the joint forces here said.

The dogs will undertake 'infantry patrols' along with troops and will be deployed for special operations and along those difficult tracks where the possibility of hidden IEDs is huge.

"A police dog is an essential component of any security force squad. This part was missing in the Naxal theatre. As these dogs are best suited for this terrain, they are now being deployed to assist the forces. They can avert major casualties and ambushes by giving early signals to their masters," the officer said.


Photographs: Igor-kynologia/Creative Commons
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These high-breed dogs have been used with success by NATO troops in Afghanistan and Israeli troops in Gaza.

These 'Malinois' have earlier been trained near Bengaluru as the terrain of the area resembled the geography as that in Naxal strongholds.

The breed is a litter of an Israeli male Malinois crossed with an American bitch.

These guard dogs will accompany police and CRPF patrols in the Naxal areas where previous patrols have been caught off guard and suffered casualties, the officer said.


Photographs: Staff Sgt Stacy L Pearsall/US Army
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The dogs have also been trained in explosives detection and this will help in sniffing out IEDs which have in the past been found buried beneath 'puckka' (tarred) roads.

Compared to the better known German shepherd, the Belgian shepherd is a coarser looking breed with a bigger head and heavier snout, and is therefore not popular as a domestic pet.

The ITBP academy, visibly happy with the training of the first batch of these dogs, has also begun receiving similar requests from other paramilitary and police forces.

The academy has now received the second batch of these dogs to be put into training.


Photographs: Creative Commons/Pleple2000
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