India to boost maritime reach, commission naval base at Minicoy on March 6 | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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India to boost maritime reach, commission naval base at Minicoy on March 6

ByRahul Singh
Mar 02, 2024 06:19 PM IST

INS Jatayu is the second naval base in Lakshadweep after INS Dweeprakshak in Kavaratti. Minicoy is the southernmost island of Lakshadweep, 215 nautical miles southwest of Kochi

New Delhi: The Indian Navy is set to convert its temporary set up at Minicoy in Lakshadweep islands into a full-fledged naval base, INS Jatayu, enhancing its operational capability and reach in the Indian Ocean region that presents a variety of challenges, officials aware of the matter said on Saturday.

The Indian Navy is set to convert its temporary set up at Minicoy in Lakshadweep islands into a full-fledged naval base (Twitter Photo)
The Indian Navy is set to convert its temporary set up at Minicoy in Lakshadweep islands into a full-fledged naval base (Twitter Photo)

It will commission Naval Detachment Minicoy as INS Jatayu on March 6 in the presence of navy chief Admiral R Hari Kumar.

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“The navy will now deploy some of its assets in the Minicoy Island and will also base personnel there permanently. That was not the case earlier. It’s about tapping the country’s geographical advantage to further our maritime interests,” said one of the officials cited above, asking not to be named.

INS Jatayu is the second naval base in Lakshadweep after INS Dweeprakshak in Kavaratti. Minicoy is the southernmost island of Lakshadweep, 215 nautical miles southwest of Kochi.

“The event marks an important milestone in the navy’s resolve to incrementally augment security infrastructure at the strategically important Lakshadweep Islands,” navy spokesperson Commander Vivek Madhwal said in a statement.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Lakshadweep in January propelled the islands into the limelight.

The Naval Detachment Minicoy was set up in the early 1980s under the operational command of the Naval Officer-in-Charge (Lakshadweep).

Minicoy straddles vital sea lines of communications, and the basing of an independent naval unit there with the requisite infrastructure and resources will enhance the overall operational capability of the Indian Navy, Madhwal said.

“The base will enhance operational reach and facilitate the Indian Navy’s operational effort towards anti-piracy and anti-narcotics operations in the western Arabian Sea. It will also augment the navy’s capability as the first responder in the region. The establishment of the naval base is in line with the government’s India’s focus on the comprehensive development of islands,” he said.

“With the commissioning of INS Jatayu, the Indian Navy will strengthen its foothold in the Lakshadweep islands, and along with extending operational surveillance, reach and sustenance, it will usher in a new era of capacity building and comprehensive development of the island territories.”

Minicoy lies near the 9 Degree Channel, a busy global shipping route.

The challenges in the distant seas include China’s carefully calculated power play for influence, defending the rules-based international order, and the Arabian Sea emerging as a new front with Red Sea tensions escalating and the resurgence of piracy. The navy has stepped up surveillance in the area substantially and deployed task groups consisting of around 10 warships in the face of rising threats.

In February, defence minister Rajnath Singh said developments in the western Indian Ocean, where merchant vessels have faced a barrage of drone attacks and hijacking attempts, presented some “extremely pressing challenges” in the maritime domain.

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