New Delhi, Jan 24: With an eye on China and to keep its ambitions in check India's navy will open a third air base in the far-off Andaman and Nicobar islands on Thursday to beef up surveillance of Chinese ships and submarines entering the Indian Ocean through the nearby Malacca Straits, military officials and experts said.
New Delhi has grown concerned over the presence of China's bigger navy in its neighborhood and the network of commercial ports it is building in an arc stretching from Sri Lanka to Pakistan that India fears could become naval outposts.
The Indian military has seized upon the Andamans that lie near the entrance to the Malacca Straits to counter the Chinese challenge, deploying ships and aircraft since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took office in 2014 promising a more muscular policy.
Indian navy chief admiral Sunil Lanba will commission the new base, called INS Kohassa, about 300 km (180 miles) north of the archipelago’s capital, Port Blair, the navy said in a statement.
Agency Reports, Pic Internet