India's turning to a natural resource to develop its next non-lethal weapon — super-hot chili peppers.
The country's defense researchers are looking for ways to use the spicy items as ingredients in hand grenades that could be used in riot suppression and counter-insurgency operations, Asia Times reported.
The "hotness" of peppers is rated on something called the Scoville scale, which measures how much pepper extract has to be diluted before no more piquancy is detected.
An ordinary bell pepper rates as zero, a jalapeno rates about 5,000 and a habanero at roughly 400,000 — but India's naga jolokia strain, also called the bhut jolokia, comes in at a whopping 1,000,000.
That's the one India's defense researchers want to use.
"It will be useful in forcing militants out of their hideouts," R.B. Srivastava, director of life sciences in India's Defense Research and Development Organization, told Asia Times.
Srivastava added that the chili pepper might also serve to deter a constant threat to Indian Army jungle encampments: marauding elephants.
"Elephants are scared of the bhut jolokia and they stay away from it," he told the newspaper. "We are thinking of applying a coat of bhut jolokia paste on nylon ropes along the boundary walls of army camps."