IAF to conduct surveillance in Sabarimala
- The Indian Air Force (IAF) and Navy have deployed their MI-17 V-5 gunships to fly low level aerial reconnaissance and surveillance sorties over Sabarimala.
- Intelligence reports that extremist elements could use forest routes to assail the temple or pilgrims groups had prompted the unusual move.
- The State police have found the reports too compelling to ignore in the background of global terrorist threat. They had developed a counter with the aid of the defence forces.
- The MI-17 V-5 were famously used by the National Security Guards to carry out an airborne assault on Chabad House which was taken over by terrorists during the September 2008 sea-borne armed suicide attack in Mumbai. They were also used to ferry troops to the LoC for “surgical strikes on terrorist camps” in September this year.
- The armoured helicopters would carry air-to-ground missiles and machine guns along with surveillance equipment.