Indian Navy to Commission INS Jatayu at Minicoy Island, Enhance Operational Capability with Second Base in Lakshadweep

Indian Navy

New Delhi: Bolstering its forces with a new base on “strategically important” islands close to the Maldives, Indian Navy will commission Naval Detachment Minicoy as INS Jatayu in the presence of Adm R Hari Kumar, Chief of the Naval Staff, on March 6, 2024.

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The event marks an important milestone in the Navy’s resolve to incrementally augment security infrastructure at the strategically important Lakshadweep Islands.

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Naval Detachment Minicoy was set up in early 1980s under the operational command of Naval Officer-in-Charge (Lakshadweep). Minicoy is the southern most island of Lakshadweep which straddles the vital Sea Lines of Communications (SLOCs).

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Basing of an independent naval unit with requisite infrastructure and resources will enhance the overall operational capability of the Indian Navy in the islands. The base will enhance operational reach and facilitate  Indian Navy’s operational effort towards  anti-piracy and anti-narcotics operations in western Arabian Sea. It will also augment Indian Navy’s capability as the first responder in the region and augment connectivity with the mainland. The establishment of a naval base is in line with the government of India’s focus towards comprehensive development of islands.

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INS Jatayu is the second Naval base in Lakshadweep after INS Dweeprakshak in Kavaratti. With the commissioning of INS Jatayu, the Indian Navy will strengthen its foothold in the Lakshadweep islands and along with extending operational surveillance, reach and sustenance, it will usher a in new era of capacity building and comprehensive development of the island territories.

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Suspicious of China’s growing presence in the archipelago nation Maldives, the establishment of INS Jatayu will extend New Delhi’s “operational surveillance” of the area. It comes at a time when there are plans to develop a dual-use airfield at Minicoy, further bolstering the Navy’s presence in the region. It also demonstrates the Navy’s commitment to tapping India’s geographical advantage to further maritime interests.