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India to Establish Strategic Base Near Maldives Amid Repatriation of Indian Forces

© Photo : Social MediaIndia to Establish Strategic Base Near Maldives Amidst Repatriation of Indian Forces
India to Establish Strategic Base Near Maldives Amidst Repatriation of Indian Forces - Sputnik India, 1920, 03.03.2024
The base will enhance New Delhi's "operational surveillance" in the region, according to a press release.
The Indian Navy is set to inaugurate INS Jatayu, formerly known as Naval Detachment Minicoy, on "strategically important" islands near the Maldives. The new base is scheduled to commence operations shortly before the Maldivian authorities initiate the repatriation of Indian forces.
Tensions have escalated between India and the Maldives since the electoral victory of President Mohamed Muizzu, who pledged to remove the Indian military presence last year.

India is concerned about China's expanding presence in the archipelago nation, situated along crucial east-west international shipping routes. According to a statement from the Indian Navy released late Saturday, the base will enhance New Delhi's "operational surveillance" in the region.

President Muizzu has formally requested that India withdraw 89 security personnel stationed in the Maldives, specifically those involved in operating reconnaissance aircraft. The initial batch is expected to depart by 10 March, with the complete withdrawal set to conclude within two months.

Scheduled to commence operations on 6 March on India's Lakshadweep Islands, the new base will transform an existing modest detachment into an "independent naval unit", as outlined in the Indian Navy's statement.

India's Lakshadweep islands are located approximately 130 kilometres north of the Maldives, and the upcoming naval base on Minicoy Island will be positioned at their nearest proximity.
While India's Navy currently operates a base on the island of Kavaratti in the Lakshadweep archipelago, the forthcoming facility will be approximately 258 kilometres closer to the Maldives.

"Minicoy is the southernmost island of Lakshadweep which straddles the vital Sea Lines of Communications (SLOC)", the statement added.

The statement indicated that the establishment of the base is aimed at enhancing efforts in anti-piracy and anti-narcotics operations. This initiative is aligned with a broader policy to "incrementally augment security infrastructure at the strategically important" islands.
Maldivian army soldiers - Sputnik India, 1920, 03.02.2024
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