For the first time since World War II, India has decided to deploy Fighter Plane in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands to counter China. The effort of India is to strengthen its hold in the western region of the Indian Ocean, with important Straits of Malacca, Sunda, Lombok and the Straits of Ombai Wetar, the Ministry is also attempting to create a model integrated theatre command which can then be replicated elsewhere.
This will be the first time when Fighter Plane will be stationed on the Andaman and Nicobar Islands after the Second World War.
Straits of Malacca, Sunda and Lumbok are narrow ocean passes that connect the Indian Ocean to the South China Sea. About 70 per cent of world’s trade goes through these narrow roads.
In the last few years, more and more Chinese warships, submarines and atomic submarines have been seen in India’s backyard as the game to dominate the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) hots up.
Recently, the Indian Navy sent a tacit message to Beijing that it will keep an eye over the region by tweeting pictures of Chinese warships entering the Indian Ocean Region.
Leveraging the Andaman Island chain as line of defence against an aggressive China has been in the plans for some time now. The Modi government, however, has put more energy and focus to realise this.
The India Navy has positioned about 19 capital warships in the area and has built two floating docks to repair and refurbish warships.
“Warships no longer need to be brought to the docks in mainland India for repairs,” said a senior Navy officer explaining the significance of setting repair and maintenance facilities in the island chain.
“The Andamans must emerge as one of India’s top most outposts to project power,” the officer said. While the base at Car Nicobar needs upgrades, the airstrip at Campbell Bay is being extended to accommodate heavier aircraft. As of now the Russian made Mi17V5 helicopters are stationed in Car Nicobar airbase.