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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

India Moves to Protect Vital Sea Lane

Naval base to open 31 July:
Aiming to keep an eye on maritime security around the Malacca Straits, a key sea trading route, the Indian Navy will inaugurate a new air base at the southern-most tip of Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
As you can see from the adjacent map (with the Andaman and Nicobar Islands circled) it's a vital location for maritime security in the region.

More at Defence Express:
The Indian Air Force (IAF) has already tried out its potent frontline Sukhoi SU-30 fighter jets from air bases in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. The Shibpur airstrip in north Andamans is also planned to be extended from 3,200 feet to 12,000 feet to support all types of aircraft and night-flying operations. Moreover, new airstrips will come up at Kamorta and Little Andaman, while the existing two main runways at Port Blair and Car Nicobar are also being upgraded to facilitate fighter jet, helicopter and heavy transport plane operations. The plans will be implemented in the next few years.

“Plans are afoot to turn Campbell Bay into ‘Operational Turn-Around Bases’ with better refuelling and communication facilities and augmented force levels,” sources added.
And yet more at
"India Now Commands The Strait Of Malacca With Naval Base 'INS Baaz' "
Great Nicobar Island, Campbell Bay Circled

The southern most islands of India are closer to Indonesia than mainland India and will help India gain strategic supremacy in the region. The new base will also boast of an upgraded air base that will be able to operate the newly inducted Hercules C-130J Super Hercules which are meant for special forces' operations.

INS Baaz clearly overlooks the Strait of Malacca from across the Aceh in Indonesia. With this new addition to the already powerful Indian navy, India can kickstart operations if maritime activities in the region are threatened. The Strait of Malacca were once heavily infected with piravy but now the Indian and Indonesian navies monitor it for criminal activities by jointly patrolling their maritime borders.
Runway at Campbell Bay, about 3000 feet long

This new base of the Indian Navy comes at a time when the US is re-balancing its force levels from the Atlantic to Asia-Pacific and will base at least 60% of its naval assets in the Asia-Pacific region. The Strait of Malacca acts as a key link between the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean connecting Asia and Africa to East Asia, Australia and the US.

The Indian Navy already operates bases at Port Blair and Car Nicobar in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands chain. INS Baaz is 300 nautical miles south of Car Nicobar naval base and has given the Indian Navy a much wider reach to effectively deter any aggression in the region.


  1. The Chinese see this as a garrote around their throat, ready to cut their essential imports.

  2. The Indian bases in the Andaman and Nicobar Command (or the ANC as the IN calls it) are small, and in my opinion sized and equipped purely for anti piracy operations in the Straits of Malacca. Considering how far they are from the Indian mainland, I wonder how effective they would be in the event of an attack from a Chinese CBG sailing in from the South China Sea.

    The Indians are still fixated with the largely non existent threat of Pakistanis invading from across the Thar Desert, or with the idea that the PLA will attack from across the Himalayan peaks, that they leave a lot of access points large unguarded.

  3. with the upgradation of the andaman and nicobar islands to a stategic base china will always find it hard to dominate the indian ocean.indian defence news