Indian Navy commissions INS Jatayu naval base in Lakshadweep to enhance operational reach and maritime security.

INS Jatayu: Strengthening Naval Security in Lakshadweep Islands against Piracy and Threats
INS Jatayu'.
INS Jatayu'.

Minicoy (Lakshadweep) | Strengthening the operational prowess of the Indian Navy within the strategically vital Lakshadweep Islands, a significant development unfolded on Wednesday -- the commissioning of a naval base at Minicoy, now designated as 'INS Jatayu'.

Naval Detachment INS Jatayu, which will boost operational reach and facilitate the Indian Navy's operational effort towards anti-piracy and anti-narcotics operations in the Western Arabian Sea, was commissioned by Navy Chief Admiral R Hari Kumar.

INS Jatayu has been commissioned under the command of Commandant Vrat Baghel.

Addressing the gathering at Minicoy after the commissioning of INS Jatayu, Kumar said the unit was named after the mythical creature in the epic Ramayana who tried to stop the abduction of Sita.

"In the Ramayana, Jatayu was the 'first responder', trying to stop the abduction of Sita ji, even to the peril of his own life, exemplifying service before self. So the naming of this unit as Jatayu is an apt recognition of this spirit of providing security surveillance and selfless service," Kumar said.

The navy chief said that the information Jatayu relayed to Lord Ram provided crucial situational awareness, leading to the successful quest that followed.

"Similarly, we expect that this unit will provide situational awareness to the Indian Navy in maintaining good maritime domain awareness of the entire region. INS Baaz to the east in the Andamans and now the INS Jatayu in the west will serve as eyes and ears to the Navy to safeguard our national interest," he said.

He said it was crucial to recognise the pressing need for heightened surveillance amidst the prevailing geopolitical developments, which underscores the strategic significance of Lakshadweep to India.

"The Indian Ocean region is witnessing an upsurge in maritime terror, crime, and piracy. The Indian Navy has responded with an assertive posture in the west and north Arabian Sea, undertaking anti-drone, anti-missile, and anti-piracy operations to safeguard merchant traffic in the region," he said.

Lakshadweep Island Administrator Praful Khoda Patel, who was the chief guest on the occasion, said that approval for an airstrip at Minicoy is in the final stages, and that the 24-hour operational chopper hanger at Kavaratti will start soon.

He also said land has been allotted to set up a radar base in Lakshadweep for the Indian Air Force.

Southern Naval Command chief Vice Admiral V Srinivas and Western Naval Command chief Vice Admiral Sanjay J Singh also took part in the event.

Naval Officer-in-Charge (Lakshadweep) Captain Lovekesh Thakur said that since the island is located on traditional trade routes, it is strategically important.

"Because of the strategic location, specifically Minicoy, it is a place for gathering information on the shipping movement," Thakur told PTI.

He said since the island is on an important trade route, having a base with enhanced surveillance capabilities is of great importance to the country.

It is basically a starting point to building a springboard for better deployment of units, Thakur added.

Minicoy is the southernmost island of Lakshadweep, which straddles the vital sea lines of communications.

INS Jatayu is the second naval base in Lakshadweep after INS Dweeprakshak in Kavaratti.

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