India eyes military expansion; Sitharaman to spend Diwali with soldiers in Andaman tri-service command

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Mains Paper 3: Internal Security | Security challenges and their management in border areas

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: INS Baaz

Mains level: Very important article. It shows Indian Navy’s plans of expansion in the Indian Ocean and talks about strategically important areas in the region.


News

India’s plan of Military expansion

  1. India is working on expanding the military effectiveness of its outpost at the juncture of Bay of Bengal and Andaman Sea
  2. This includes creation of military infrastructure for greater naval presence in the islands which dominates the strategically important Malacca Strait

Possible reasons behind these steps

  1. The military focus is on countering the increasing Chinese presence in the region, which has been a cause of concern
  2. Chinese submarines have been sighted in the area and have also been docked at bases in Pakistan and Sri Lanka

Extension of airstrip at INAS Baaz

  1. INAS Baaz is the naval aviation base on Campbell Bay on the Great Nicobar island
  2. It is currently being extended from 3,050 feet to 10,000 feet
  3. The extension is scheduled to be completed by 2021
  4. It will allow the Navy to place its modern P-8I surveillance aircraft at INAS Baaz
  5. The Navy currently operates its eight P-8I aircraft(procured from the US in 2013) from INS Rajali in Tamil Nadu
  6. If the P-8I aircraft shift to Campbell Bay, our surveillance reach will get multiplied by thousand miles

Why is INS BAAZ important?

  1.  Baaz gives us that flexibility which will cover South China Sea
  2. Moreover, Baaz is adjacent to Malacca straits, an area of immense strategic interest to us

Other developments

  1. The Navy also plans to commission its second Floating Dry Dock Navy (FDDN)
  2. It will allow more naval ships to be maintained and serviced in the islands
  3. The Navy is also in the process of constructing three forward operating bases (FOBs) in the islands — at Diglipur, Kamorta and at Campbell Bay
  4. It will allow its Khukri class corvettes to be distributed across various locations in the archipelago
Defence Sector – DPP, Missions, Schemes, Security Forces, etc.
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