NEW DELHI: To keep an eye on maritime security around the Malacca Straits and to gain strategic supremacy in the area, India will in about a fortnight from now open a new airbase, aptly named as Baaz (Hawk), in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, said defence sources.
The new naval base, which will get an upgraded air base too, will soon be operating heavier military planes from the Indian air fleet including the US-made special forces plane, C130Js, that was inducted last year.
INS Baaz will come up at Campbell Bay, India’s southeasternmost fringe in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands chain.
It straddles a strategically key location in the Indian Ocean/Bay of Bengal overlooking the mouth of Malacca straits, from across Aceh in Indonesia.
This move by India comes even as the US spelt out its future strategy to focus on the Asia-Pacific in “rebalancing” its military strategy earlier this year.
Malacca Straits is a key maritime chokepoint that acts as a link between the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean, connecting East Asia, Australia and the US with Asia and Africa, which are the key oil resources of the world.