U.S. offers India help to fight Maoists
The US made this offer a couple of weeks ago
RAIPUR, India, May 26 (Reuters) - The United States has offered to help an Indian state remove thousands of mines planted by Maoist rebels and train its police force to battle the insurgents, a senior Indian official said on Friday.
Two American diplomats made the offer to the government of the central state of Chhattisgarh during a visit on Thursday, said B.K.S. Ray, senior state official for home affairs.
"They offered assistance in demining and counter-insurgency training of p.
olice personnel and they also offered humanitarian relief to the camps for tribals," Ray told Reuters.
A U.S. embassy spokesman denied an offer of help had been made but said American officials had discussed law enforcement among other issues during the trip.
David Kennedy said Washington was already coordinating with India, an increasingly close friend, in law enforcement and counter-terrorism."All cooperation is coordinated at the federal level in New Delhi," he told Reuters.
Chhattisgarh is the worst affected of at least 13 Indian states battling armed Maoist rebels who say they are fighting for the rights of millions of impoverished peasants and landless labourers.
Human rights groups say many people are being coerced into joining the Salwa Judum (Campaign for Peace) and have condemned the state government for putting civilians in the firing line.
The U.S. diplomats also visited a police jungle warfare school in Kanker town in southern Chhattisgarh.
More than 150 people, including policemen and dozens of Salwa Judum members, have been killed in Chhattisgarh since the start of this year. Most were killed in land mine blasts.
Any U.S. offer to help Chhattisgarh would be the first known foreign proposal of aid in India's fight against Maoist rebels.
"We welcome anyone who supports us in the fight against terrorism," Ray said.
Indian police say there are about 20,000 armed Maoist fighters across the country, with hundreds of thousands of supporters.
Last month, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said the Maoists were the biggest threat to the country's internal security.
This meddling by the US in the internal affairs of India is the first signs that
India has lost its sovereignty.