Thursday, April 15, 2010

India moves to expand strategic Karwar naval base

India is finally going in for a major expansion of its newest naval base at Karwar in coastal Karnataka, which provides it "strategic depth" on the western seaboard and will house aircraft carriers and nuclear submarines in the future. This comes after a long delay since the ambitious `Project Seabird' to build the futuristic Karwar naval base was first approved by the government way back in 1985 at an initial cost of Rs 350 crore. Budgetary constraints derailed the project for a decade before a truncated Phase-I was approved in 1995, with the work finally commencing in 1999 with a Rs 2,500 crore fund allocation. "Phase-I is now fully complete. We have 10 warships based there. Now, the detailed project report for Phase-II is in the final stages. After approval by the Cabinet Committee on Security, construction will begin next year,'' Navy chief Admiral Nirmal Verma told TOI. Navy will be able to berth 25 to 30 big warships at Karwar after Phase-II gets over by 2017, he added. The base will also house a wide variety of smaller ships, including 10 of the 80 fast-interceptor craft of Sagar Prahari Bal, the specialised force being raised for coastal security after the 26/11 terror attacks on Mumbai........................link

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