The central government is aiming for an expansion of military base in the strategically located islands of Andaman and Nicobar as a part of its Act East Policy. According to reports furnished by Financial Express, the government of India has appointed the retired Navy chief Admiral D.K. Joshi as the Lt Governor of the Union Territory, which is located at the juncture of the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea. This expansion in military further aims to enable greater naval presence in the islands that dominates the strategically important Malacca Strait.
This decision was taken during the Union Defense Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s maiden two-day visit to the Andaman and Nicobar tri-services Command.
Here are certain important things to know about India’s military expansion plan across its southern most region:
1. India aims to tackle the Chinese navy sighted along the area.
Acting on reports furnished in July regarding the sighting of Chinese navy submarines in the Indian Ocean, the Indian government aims to expand its military hold over the entire region to counter the increasing Chinese naval supremacy. The Chinese submarines have been seen being docked at the bases in Pakistan as well as in Sri Lanka. And concerning the fact that the southernmost tip of the Indian islands being only 150 km from Sumatra, expanding military base in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands will essentially increase India’s grip over the Malacca strait.
2. The airstrip at INAS Baaz at Campbell Bay of Nicobar Islands is being extended from 3,050 feet to 10,000 feet.
The fact that India is clearly aiming for an expansion in an all-round military base can be seen from the expansion of its naval aviation base at Campbell Bay in Nicobar Islands. The extension, which will allow the Navy to place its modern P-8I surveillance aircraft at INAS Baaz, is scheduled to be completed by 2021.
3. The Navy is also planning to commission its second Floating Dry Dock Navy (FDDN) near Port Blair.
To speed up the entire military makeover of the islands, the Indian Naval Forces have already started planning to commission its second Floating Dry Dock Navy (FDDN) alongside the dockyard under construction. The same will be constructed by L&T, and will allow more naval ships to be maintained and serviced in the islands.
4. Construction of three forward operating bases (FOBs) is also in process.
The Indian Navy is also commissioning the construction of three more FOBs at Campbell Bay, Kamorta and Diglipur. This is specifically done to allow its Khukri class corvettes to be distributed across various locations in the archipelago swiftly, especially during emergency times.