With an eye on countering the ever-increasing presence of the Chinese Navy in the Indo-Pacific region, a new airbase ‘INS Kohasa’ will soon be made operational in the Andaman and Nicobar territories.
The new airbase in the Indian Navy Air Station (INAS) Kohasa near Diglipur, will be able to handle operations of helicopters and small aircraft.
The new base will be inaugurated by the Andaman and Nicobar Command Chief Vice Admiral Bimla Verma on 24 January. With IN Kohasa, India adds more teeth to its defence capabilities in the region where Port Blair, Car Nicobar and INS Baaz facilities are located at the greater Nicobar Islands.
“The base has been readied for operations of helicopters and small transport aircraft and gives an optional landing and operating base to military pilots while operating in the island territories, which are stretched over around 1,000 kilometres from top to bottom,” a Navy official told ANI.
The base which was earlier known as INS Shivpur (a village located on North Andaman Island) was renamed after the addition of new facilities, the official said.
India has ramped up its defence installations in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands near the Strait of Malacca through which 70 percent of merchant vessels pass. The region is important for Navy’s plan to consolidate its control in the Indian Ocean region.
The Andamans have a large presence of Air Force, Navy, Coast and the Army who practice amphibious warfare there. India’s only tri-services operational command centre is located in the archipelago where personnel of Air Force, Navy and military defence operate under one Navy officer.
In addition, the Indian Air Force operates its Dornier aircraft between Port Blair and Diglipur every Thursday for courier duties. In 2009, the government of India accorded sanction to commission NAS Shibpur as a full-fledged air station.
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