Andaman sea region, India eyes military expansion 

Andaman sea region, India eyes military expansion 

Context

  • New Delhi is working on expanding the military effectiveness of its outpost at the juncture of Bay of Bengal and Andaman Sea, country’s only tri-service command.

Reasons

  • To dominates the strategically important Malacca Strait.
  • Countering the increasing Chinese presence in the region, which has been a cause of concern

Inititatives

  • The airstrip at INAS Baaz, the naval aviation base on Campbell Bay on the Great Nicobar island, is currently being extended from 3,050 feet to 10,000 feet.
    • The extension, which will allow the Navy to place its modern P-8I surveillance aircraft at INAS Baaz
    • It is scheduled to be completed by 2021.
    • It will increase our surveillance reach by thousand miles.  which will cover South China Sea
    • Baaz is adjacent to Malacca straits, an area of immense strategic interest to us

Note: The Navy currently operates its eight P-8I aircraft, procured from the US in 2013, from INS Rajali base at Arakonam in Tamil Nadu.

  • The Navy also plans to commission its second Floating Dry Dock Navy (FDDN) — constructed by L&T — near Port Blair by December,
    • With a dockyard under completion. This will allow more naval ships to be maintained and serviced in the islands.
  • The Navy is also in the process of constructing three forward operating bases (FOBs) in the islands — at Diglipur, Kamorta and at Campbell Bay — to allow its Khukri class corvettes to be distributed across various locations in the archipelago.

Note: khukri class

  • The Khukri class corvettes are equipped with Diesel Engines assembled in India, under license by Kirloskar Group. Around 65% of the ship contains indigenous parts.
  • These ships were intended to be the replacement for the Petya II corvettes.
  • Ship under this class are
    • INS khukri
    • INS khanjar
    • INS kirpan
    • INS kuthar
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