MANGALORE: He is India’s first international professional formula one Jet Ski racer. But when lack of sponsors forced him to quit the sport, Nikolai Singh of Meghalaya literally took to air instead and pursued his passion for adventure sport in the form on para-motoring, around 4 years ago. And now he intends to utilize his knowledge of para-motoring for a very specific purpose – that is hunt for naxalites in jungles of Chhattisgarh, and extremists in the North-East.
Nikolai, who is currently on a mission for Election Commission of India and the Systematic Voters’ Education And Electoral Participation programme is eying to train the Commando Battalion for Resolute Action (COBRA) unit of CRPF. COBRA is a specialized unit of the CRPFcreated to counter the n axaliteproblem in Indiaand is one of the only units of the Central Armed Police Forcesin the country who are specifically trained in guerilla warfare.
Nikolai, who was in the city as part of SVEEP programme told TOI that para gliders can be ideally deployed in the aerial hunt against naxalites. “Operating from a height of 5,000 feet, one can deploy thermal radar imaging system to hunt for the Left winged extremists rather successfully without drawing fire from them,” he says. “I am in touch with the CRPF top brass and if things go well, will shortly be training its COBRA unit,” Nikolai adds.
Incidentally, there is lot of dithering on part of the Union Home Ministry on the need to and the efficacy of using aerial power against the naxalites, who are well entrenched in the jungles of the areas where they operate from. Fear of collateral damage in the form of civilians is the main concern that has stopped the centre from resorting to use of air power against its own citizens. Nikolai says, “Para gliders can form the ideal reconnaissance machines in this scenario.”