New Delhi, Jan 15 (Agencies): Indian Army chief General VK Singh has said it 'was not desirable' to use the armed forces in anti-Maoist operations as the Left-wing rebellion is being viewed 'as a law and order and socio-economic problem'.

'We have held this as a belief, which even the Defence Minister (AK Antony) gave out, that the Left-wing extremism or the Maoist problem is more of a law and order and socio-economic problem to be handled by the local police forces and the central police forces. 

Army's moving into this was not desirable,' Singh told All India Radio in an interview with senior journalist Kalyani Shankar. 

Gen. Singh said the Army was providing assistance in training the police forces, the central police forces and the paramilitary forces.

He said the Army has offered names of people who can be advisors with the various states and guide them on how things can be done.

Retired officers basically and as I look at it, I think the whole situation can be tackled by these forces very well. However, in the long term, if something happens and if the government wants the Army, well, we will accordingly gear ourselves for that particular task,' he said.

Orissa to strengthen anti-Maoist force

Encouraged by the success of its own securitymen in eliminating nine ultras and recovering huge weapons in Rayagada district recently, Orissa government decided to strengthen its anti-Naxalite force, official sources said.

"A proposal to increase strength of Special Operation Group (SOG) and District Voluntary Force (DVF), has been accepted by the state government," Director General of Police
Manmohan Praharaj told reporters.

According to the police, the state police personnel were as efficient as CRPF and BSF men in fighting the Maoists in forests. This was proved during a recent encounter in Rayagada district where SOG and DVF personnel gunned down nine ultras and busted a camp of the Maoists active in the southern districts neighbouring Chhatishgarh and Andhra Pradesh.

Stating that at least 50 SOG units (one unit comprises 30 personnel) were now engaged in anti-Maoist operations, the DGP said it was likely to be doubled.

The IG (operation) would soon prepare a blue print on strengthening for augmentation of the anti-Maoist force including the DVF, he said.