New Navy island base to fob off pirates

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By OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT
  • Published 1.05.12
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New Delhi, April 30: The Indian Navy opened a new base in the Lakshadweep archipelago today, increasing its presence in the Arabian Sea where Somalia-based pirates are operating closer to Indian waters more than ever before.

INS Dweeprakshak was commissioned at Kavaratti by Vice-Admiral K.N. Sushil, the flag officer commanding in chief of the Southern Naval Command. Captain K.N. Hanchinal is the first commanding officer of the naval base.

So far, the navy had maintained only a detachment in Lakshadweep since the 1980s. But now the islands are assuming strategic importance with India’s western seaboard becoming the destination for many navies.

Vice-Admiral Sushil said radar stations and other surveillance measures were in place for shipping traffic monitoring and intelligence gathering.

A firmer footing on the islands, which are spread out astride some of the busiest shipping lanes of the world would provide the necessary wherewithal to the navy to discharge its responsibilities suitably, spokesperson Commander P.V. Satish said.