India plans new airport at Lakshadweep's Minicoy amid row with Maldives | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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India plans new airport at Lakshadweep's Minicoy amid row with Maldives

Jan 09, 2024 08:09 PM IST

The decision aims to promote tourism in the union territory of Lakshadweep and strengthen the surveillance capabilities over the Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean.

Amid the diplomatic tensions between India and Maldives over the derogatory remarks against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India is now planning to develop a new airport at Minicoy Island in Lakshadweep, which would accommodate both military and civilian aircraft, news agency ANI reported, citing government sources.

At present, there's only one airstrip in the island in Agatti which restricts the variety of aircraft.(File)
At present, there's only one airstrip in the island in Agatti which restricts the variety of aircraft.(File)

"The plan is to have a joint airfield that would be capable of operating fighter jets, military transport planes and commercial aircraft," ANI quoted government sources as saying.

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The proposal to develop a new airfield in the Minicoy islands has been moved in the past too, but the decision to have a joint-use airfield for defence and civilians is the latest decision in the revived plan, it added.

The decision aims to promote tourism in the union territory of Lakshadweep and strengthen the surveillance capabilities over the Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean region, with the development of the airfield.

The proposal for the development of airfield was first given by the Indian Coast Guard. The current proposal suggests that the Indian Air Force (IAF) will lead the operations from the Minicoy's airfield.

Once operational, the airport would enhance the defence forces' surveillance capabilities along with stimulating regional tourism, as outlined in the government's plans.

At present, there's only one airstrip in the island in Agatti which restricts the variety of aircraft.

A diplomatic row has been triggered by the three Maldivian leaders, Malsha Shareef, Mariyam Shiuna and Abdulla Mahzoom Majid, who made derogatory remarks against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and mocked his recent visit to Lakshadweep. India strongly raised the matter with Male and the island nation's top opposition leaders slammed the ruling establishment over the row.

On January 2, PM Modi visited the union territory and shared several pictures, including an 'exhilarating experience' of him trying his hand at snorkelling. Since then the island territory has been the centre of discussion and attraction.

(With inputs from ANI)

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