Navy's reach expanded

Navy's reach expanded

The government had accorded approval for forward naval bases at Tuticorin, Karmata, Diglipur, Campbell Bay and Paradweep, Defence Minister A K Antony said at the navy commander’s conference here on Wednesday.

A forward naval base is different from a regular navy base. Forward bases give a quick turnaround option for ships by providing them a place to refuel, routine maintenance and fresh stocking of rations and ammunition, thereby providing the Navy with agility.

All the five bases will be ready by 2014 and each will be manned by about 40-45 Navy personnel. In the absence of any such base on the east coast, naval ships always come to Visakhapatnam for refuelling and maintenance.

Three of the five bases would be located on the Andaman and Nicobar Island to assist the naval platforms used to keep an eye on the eastern Arabian Sea while the base at Tuticorin will be useful for patrolling the Palk Strait.

Antony said 34 ships and submarines were at various stages of construction and a large number of contracts have been concluded for acquiring aircraft, warships, fleet tankers, jet trainers, missiles, unmanned aerial vehicles and radars.

Describing piracy on the Indian Ocean a continuing cause of concern, Antony said, “The menace (of piracy) needs a concerted effort and a collective response from the international community.”

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