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Indian Navy to set up forward operating base in Paradip

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The Indian Navy displays a naval fleet exercise to people on the occasion of Naval Week celebrations near Paradeep Port in Orissa. Image Credit: PTI photo

PARADIP (PTI): As part of steps to galvanise coastal security after the Mumbai terror attack, the Indian Navy plans to set up a forward operating base in Orissa's Paradip, besides substantially expanding its fleet size to ward off any threat.

"At least six new medium and small warships will soon be commissioned to raise our fleet size for which orders have been placed," fleet commander of eastern naval command Rear Admiral P Murugesan told reporters during a demonstration and exercise by seven warships off the Paradip coast.

The entire coastline would be defended through fleet expansion of the navy, which now has about 140 warships of different categories with state-of-the-art gadgets.

The naval officer said that a wide gap exists on the eastern coast in the absence of any naval facility between Vishakhapatnam and Haldia, and added plans were afoot to have a forward operating base at Paradip which would go a long way in smoothening movement of naval vessels and providing logistical support.

In view of the urgent need to tighten security along the coastline in light of 26/11 Mumbai attack, a request has already been made to Orissa government for allotment of land to establish the proposed base, he said.

In addition, since about 90 per cent of India's trade takes place through sea, the navy also seeks to protect cargo ships from pirates, he said.

"There is a need to deploy naval ships at certain points, particularly in view of recent attacks by sea pirates, to enable smooth and secure journey by trading vessels," Murugesan said.

Describing the east coast as equally vulnerable, he said though intrusions often take place by Bangladeshi and Sri Lankan fishermen for illegal fishing, strict vigil must be maintained against possible entry by other elements.

The fighting teeth of the Indian Navy was showcased as ships, some of them fitted with BRAHMOS anti-ship cruise missiles, demonstrated their formidable prowess and technology off Paradip coast as part of the ongoing Navy Week.

A helicopter and two aircraft also took part in the exercise.

About 13,000 visitors thronged Paradip port since yesterday to have a glimpse of the modern warships -- INS Rajput, INS Kirpan, INS Jalashwa, INS Kuthar, INS Kora, INS Kulish and INS Khanjar.

The visitors were spellbound watching demos by the ships, armed with deadly weapons, sensors and anti-ship sea-skimming missiles.

The lethal power of Indian Navy unfolded as INS Rajput, a missile destroyer class ship and armed with BRAHMOS anti-ship cruise missiles (ASCM) showed its capability.

Fitted with advanced radar and SONAR (sound navigation and ranging) system, it can have Kamov-25 anti-submarine helicopters on board, naval sources said.

The cruise missiles have high accuracy and low observability and can be launched from a height of ten metres above sea waves to an altitude of 15 km from any angle.

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