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Indian Navy plans major expansion of Karwar base

The Navy's new aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov will be berthed at the Karwar base.

NEW DELHI (PTI): Indian Navy is planning a major expansion of its strategic Karwar naval base in Karnataka where it will berth its Russian-origin aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov and carry out military aircraft operations.

The Navy plans to deploy the Admiral Gorshkov, Scorpene submarines and a number of surface ships at the base after the completion of the over Rs 10,000 crore project there.

A proposal in this regard is expected to be moved before the Cabinet Committee on Security chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for final approval, sources told PTI here.

Project Seabird Phase IIA work will involve construction of a wide range of new facilities and augmentation of certain existing facilities involving an outlay of over Rs 10,000 crore, Navy officials said here.

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.

Overall under Phase-II, the Karwar naval station will get an airbase, armament depot, dockyard complex and missile silos, apart from additional jetties, berthing and anchorage facilities.

The Project Seabird was developed to decongest the naval dockyards in Mumbai which is choked due to increased traffic and pollution there.

Another reason was to create a major base at some distance from Pakistani cities and range of their missiles.

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