HomeGlobal Defence UpdatesNew navy base in Lakshadweep Islands likely to be commissioned by Rajnath...

New navy base in Lakshadweep Islands likely to be commissioned by Rajnath Singh; operations to start next week

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The Navy is set to commission a new base in the Lakshadweep islands next week, with plans to make it a major military hub in the region that will be upgraded to operate fighter aircraft in future as well. INS Jatayu, to come up in Minicoy, will be commissioned with the two aircraft carriers of the Indian Navy set to be present for the ceremony.

Sources said that the base will be commissioned by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh. A new squadron of the MH 60R ‘Romeo’ Naval helicopters is also likely to be raised on the occasion. As part of the larger plans to secure the Indian Ocean Region, the Navy and Coast Guard have drawn up ambitious plans to increase presence in the Lakshadweep islands, in line with the military presence in Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

INS Jatayu will be the counterpart of INS Baaz, the frontline naval base in the Andamans that will be capable of handling all classes of fighter jets and aircraft. As reported earlier, plans to construct a new airfield at Minicoy in the Lakshadweep islands have gained momentum in recent weeks.

The plan is to have a new airfield that will be capable of handling all types of military aircraft as well as commercial airliners that will give a fillip to tourism in the island chain. Plans are also in place to extend the only existing airfield on the islands at Agatti.

The government has been working to unlock the potential of the Andaman and Lakshadweep islands for the past several years. In May last year, ET reported that India completed an exhaustive survey of the Andaman Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) after the Modi government aligned all stakeholders, including defence and space agencies, to release 99% of the areas prohibited for oil exploration and production due to security concerns.

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