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IAF chief Dhanoa visits Naxal-hit Bastar in C'garh

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RAIPUR (PTI): Air Chief Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa on Monday visited the Naxal-infested Bastar district in Chhattisgarh, aimed at boosting the morale of the Indian Air Force (IAF) personnel deployed there.

During the visit, Dhanoa held meetings with the local police officials, district authorities and the IAF personnel.

"The Air Chief Marshal visited Anti Naxalite Task Forces (ANTF) at Raipur and Jagdalpur. His visit was aimed at boosting the morale of the IAF commandos deployed in the red zone," a senior police official told PTI.

A statement issued by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) said, "During the visit, he was briefed by the local commanders of various paramilitary forces deployed in Bastar area. He reviewed the operational preparedness of forces deployed in the sector. He also interacted with personnel from various state agencies and air warriors to boost their morale."

The Air Chief Marshal arrived at Jagdalpur (Bastar district headquarter) at around 11.45 am, the police official said.

Thereafter, he chaired a meeting with local officials, including Inspector General of Police (Bastar Range) Vivekanand Sinha, Dantewada DIG Sundarraj P, Bastar Collector Amit Kataria and Bastar Superintendent of Police Sheikh Arif Hussain, at the IAF guest house located in the compound of the forest department, he said.

Thereafter, he had a lunch with IAF commandos. Later, he flew to Raipur airport and had a tea with senior police and IAF officials there, following which he left for Ranchi.

The IAF has been operating its helicopters in the Bastar region since the past several years to give logistical support of Central Armed Police Forces and police personnel fighting the left wing extremism in the state.

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