Navy goes full throttle to augment infrastructure in Andaman
Kalyan Ray, New Delhi, DH News Services, Oct 19 2017, 18:11 IST
The 3,500-ft existing runway at the naval air station, INS Baaz, at Campbell Bay is being extended, first to 6,000 ft and subsequently to 10,000 ft by 2021. pti file photo
The Indian Navy has gone full steam to augment its infrastructure in Andaman, in order to jack up its presence in the vicinity of several strategically significant waterways in the Indian Ocean.
The 3,500-ft existing runway at the naval air station, INS Baaz, at Campbell Bay is being extended, first to 6,000 ft and subsequently to 10,000 ft by 2021.
The Navy plans to locate at least some of its P8I surveillance planes at the Campbell Bay once the runway extension work is over. Currently these aircraft, purchased from the USA, are stationed at INS Rajali at Arakonam in Tamil Nadu.
In another two months, the Navy would shift its second floating dry dock to the islands on the eastern sea board to service a large number of ships operating in that area.
Capable of docking warships of up to 8,000 tonnes displacement, the floating dock has high capacity ballast pumps along with advanced automated ballast control system.
The dock, manufactured by Larsen & Toubro, will facilitate repair and refit activities even in inclement weather conditions.
The infrastructure augmentation in Andaman and Nicobar Islands is being undertaken at a time when India has institutionalised patrolling of the high seas near Malacca Strait and Six Degrees Channel.
Since June, naval ships stationed at Andaman and Nicobar are deployed to keep a watch on the maritime traffic passing through one of the world's busiest sea lanes round the clock.
Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, who was in Andaman on October 18 and 19, had been given a briefing on the Navy's future plans on infrastructure development in the island.
Nirmala, on October 18, was received at INS Utkrosh by Lieutenant Governor of Andaman and Nicobar Islands and former Navy chief Admiral D K Joshi and Commander-in-Chief of Andaman and Nicobar Command, Vice Admiral Bimal Verma.
She was given a comprehensive brief on the security environment and thrust areas of the Andaman and Nicobar Command, at its headquarters, sources said.
The Navy is also constructing three forward operating bases at Kamorta (Nicobar) and Diglipur and Campbell Bay (Andaman) to reduce the turnaround time for the smaller corvettes operating in that region.