Sunday, November 8, 2009

Indian Navy plans operating base in Paradip


As part of steps to galvanise coastal security after the Mumbai terror attack, the Navy plans to set up a forward operating base in Orissa’s Paradip, besides substantially expanding its fleet size to ward off any threat.

“At least six new medium and small warships will soon be commissioned to raise our fleet size for which orders have been placed,” fleet commander of eastern naval command Rear Admiral P Murugesan told reporters during a demonstration and exercise by seven warships off the Paradip coast.The entire coastline would be defended through fleet expansion of the Navy, which now has about 140 warships of different categories with state-of-the-art gadgets.

The Naval officer said a wide gap exists on the eastern coast in the absence of any naval facility between Vishakhapatnam and Haldia, and added plans were afoot to have a forward operating base at Paradip which would go a long way in smoothening movement of naval vessels and providing logistical support.

In view of the urgent need to tighten security along the coastline in light of 26/11 Mumbai attack, a request has already been made to Orissa government for allotment of land to establish the proposed base, he said.

In addition, since about 90 per cent of India’s trade takes place through sea, the Navy also seeks to protect cargo ships from pirates, he said. “There is a need to deploy naval ships at certain points, particularly in view of recent attacks by sea pirates, to enable smooth and secure journey by trading vessels,” Murugesan said.

Describing the east coast as equally vulnerable, he said though intrusions often take place by Bangladeshi and Sri Lankan fishermen for illegal fishing, strict vigil must be maintained against possible entry by other elements.

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