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Indian Navy to develop infrastructure at Lakshadweep Islands

KOCHI (PTI): In keeping with growing maritime challenges in the region, Navy envisions to develop infrastructure at Lakshadweep Islands for a Forward Operating Base, Flag Officer Commanding in-Chief Southern Naval Command Vice Admiral Satish Soni has said.

Addressing a press conference on Tuesday on board INS Sunayna at the Naval base here, he said Navy has also expressed interest in the Kochi outer harbour project mooted by Cochin Port Trust on cost sharing basis.

"CPT has offered 650 acres of land at Fort Kochi for Navy and the idea is in the initial stages and due approvals would have to be sought from Defence Ministry," he said.

On coastal security front, he said Navy has been deploying ships in the Gulf of Aden to escort merchant ships. These ships have safely escorted about 2,600 merchant ships from 50 countries and prevented 40 piracy attempts.

During the past year, the Southern Naval Command had also carried out extensive deployments of ships and aircraft to maintain a near continuous surveillance of the area, he said.

He said the Southern Naval command has been allocated 16 Fast Interceptor Craft of which, the first lot of 4 have already been inducted in March and the second lot of 4 FICs are expected to arrive this week.

With the commissioning of INS Sunayna in October, the Command now has 14 warships to meet its operational and training commitments, he said.

A sister ship of Sunayna and three new Cadets Training Ships would also be joining the Command in next three to four years which would help in further augmenting afloat training and surface surveillance capability, he said.

On Maritime Infrastructure Development initiatives of the Southern Naval Command, a proposal for 500 mtrs of berth and 25 acres of land at Vizhinjam has been forwarded for approval by Defence Ministry, he said.

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