India Bolsters Naval Presence: Plans New Base Near Maldives Amid Regional Dynamics

March 5, 2024 10:33 am

India Bolsters Naval Presence: Plans New Base Near Maldives Amid Regional Dynamics

In a strategic move, India has announced plans to construct a new naval base, INS Jatayu, on Minicoy, the southernmost island in the Lakshadweep archipelago, situated approximately 130 kilometers north of the Maldives. The announcement comes at a time of heightened tensions between India and the Maldives.

The Indian Navy revealed its intention to establish INS Jatayu as part of a broader policy to incrementally enhance security infrastructure in strategically important regions. The base aims to boost operational reach, supporting the Indian Navy’s efforts in anti-piracy and anti-narcotics operations in the Western Arabian Sea. Additionally, it will reinforce the Indian Navy’s role as the first responder in the region and improve connectivity with the mainland, according to a statement by the navy.

While India already maintains a base in the Lakshadweeps, INS Dweeprakshak on Kavaratti, the decision to build INS Jatayu reflects India’s proactive measures to strengthen its naval capabilities and secure its maritime interests in the region.

Tensions between India and the Maldives have simmered since Maldives President Mohamed Muizzu assumed power last year. His visit to China before India raised eyebrows, and subsequent developments, including derogatory remarks about Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi by Maldivian deputy ministers, have added strain to bilateral relations.

The request by President Muizzu to replace Indian military personnel with civilian technical staff operating humanitarian service planes in the Maldives further underscored the evolving dynamics between the two nations. The decision to establish a new naval base near the Maldives comes against this backdrop, emphasizing India’s commitment to safeguarding its maritime interests and maintaining a robust presence in the region. The detailed plan for INS Jatayu is expected to be unveiled on Wednesday.

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