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CCS clears proposal for Karwar naval base expansion


The Russian-origin aircraft carrier will be berthed at the Karwar naval air base.

NEW DELHI (PTI): The Indian Government has cleared proposals worth over Rs 13,000 crore for a major expansion of the strategic naval air base at Karwar where the Russian-origin aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov will be berthed and raising a new battalion of Sikkim Scouts for the Army.

The proposals were cleared at a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh here on Thursday, Navy sources said.

Under the plan, the Navy will carry out the expansion of the Karwar base on the country's western sea board in Karnataka where it will berth Admiral Gorshkov, now rechristened INS Vikramaditya, and carry out military aircraft operations.

The aircraft carrier is expected to join the Navy in 2013-end.

It plans to deploy the Scorpene submarines and a number of surface ships at the base after the completion of the over Rs 10,000 crore project at Karwar.

Codenamed 'Project Seabird Phase IIA', the work will involve construction of a wide range of new facilities and augmentation of certain existing facilities, the sources said.

As per the plans, the Navy will be able to base around 30 major warships at Karwar after the completion of Phase-IIA by 2017-18.

It is also planning to establish a Naval Air Station there for deploying fixed and rotary wing ship-based military aircraft, they said.

Project Seabird has been dogged by long delays, fund crunches and truncated clearances since it was first approved in 1985 at an initial cost of Rs 350 crore.

Phase-I, which was completed at a cost of Rs 2,629 crore in 2005-06, has enabled the Navy to base more than 15 warships at Karwar.

The CCS also cleared a proposal to raise the first battalion of Sikkim Scouts for the Army which will mainly comprise youth from the northeastern state.

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