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India commissions new naval air base in Andamans
Naval Air Base
Posted On: Aug 01, 2012
PORT BLAIR (PTI):
Aiming to keep an eye on Malacca Strait-- a key sea trading route, Navy Chief Admiral Nirmal Verma Tuesday commissioned the latest air base INS Baaz at the southern-most tip of the country in Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
"The archipelago, separated as it is by more than 650 nm from our mainland, offers a vital geo-strategic advantage to India. Not only do they provide the nation with a commanding presence in the Bay of Bengal, the Islands also serve as our window into East and South East Asia," Verma said at a function at Campbell Bay to commission the base.
INS Baaz is situated at a distance of about 300 nautical miles from Port Blair and is the southernmost air station of the Indian armed forces.
Observing that the Navy was progressively increasing its number of warships under the Andaman and Nicobar Command, Verma said, "Port Blair will be home to amphibious platforms, offshore patrol vessels and fast attack craft as the Navy's robust acquisition plans progress."
Bringing out the strategic importance and location of INS Baaz, he said, "It overlooks the Strait of Malacca, while also dominating the 6 degree channel".
INS Baaz is currently equipped to operate light to heavy aircraft capable of short-field operations from the runway of about 3500 feet.
The runway will be progressively lengthened to enable unrestricted operation of all category of aircraft including heavy aircraft.
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