New Delhi: – India has undertaken a campaign to modernise the airbases on the Andaman and Lakshadweep Islands, following the historical announcement of connecting the Andaman-Nicobar and Lakshadweep Islands with optical fibre. Information is being received that the military has started preparations to use the existing airbases, on these islands like an aircraft carrier. This is the action being taken by the Indian military, as a fitting reply to the Chinese ‘String of Pearls’.
As per the information given by a senior official from the Indian defence forces, the airbases on the Andaman-Nicobar and Lakshadweep Islands will be modernised. These include INS Kohassa, Shibpur located in the north Andaman, and at the Campbell strip in Nicobar and Agatti airstrip in Lakshadweep. All three airstrips in the current status are no fit for fighter jet deployment. At the same time, there are no advanced radar systems installed at these airstrips. But these airstrips will soon be made ultramodern and will be made fit for the deployment of advanced fighter jets. The concerned official said while talking to a newspaper that the plan is to use these airstrips like an aircraft carrier.
The concerned official claimed that modernisation of the Andaman-Nicobar airbase will secure the region from Bay of Bengal to the strait of Malacca and Lakshadweep Islands airbase will secure the region from the Arabian Sea to the Gulf of Aden. This will enhance the readiness of the Indian Navy. At the same time, it is being said that the Indian patrolling will increase in the two busiest marine freight routes. The official said that the moves to modernise the airstrips have been prioritised. This modernisation is being viewed against the background of the increasing Chinese movements in the India marine region and the nearby sectors. More information was not available regarding the matter.
China is trying to develop the Kra Canal in Thailand as an alternative for the strait of Malacca. If that happens, Chinese ships will be able to directly enter the Indian Ocean, avoiding the challenge of the Strait of Malacca. The Chinese freight ships will benefit from this. But it is also claimed that the threat to Indian security will increase as the movements of Chinese warships in the Indian marine sector will increase. Against this background, modernisation of airbases in the Andaman-Nicobar and Lakshadweep Islands is considered extremely important.