The Naval Air Station at Campbell Bay on Great Nicobar Island, was today commissioned as Indian Naval Ship ‘Baaz’ by Admiral Nirmal Verma, Chairman Chiefs of Staff Committee and the Chief of the Naval Staff. INS Baaz is situated at a distance of about 300 nm from Port Blair and is the southernmost air station of the Indian armed forces.
Speaking on the occasion Admiral Nirmal Verma said that “the
archipelago, separated as it is by more than 650 nm from our mainland,
offers a vital geo-strategic advantage to India. Not only do they
provide the Nation with a commanding presence in the Bay of Bengal, the
Islands also serve as our window into East and South East Asia”. He
added that “They also sit astride some of the busiest shipping lanes of
the Indian Ocean, most carrying strategic cargo for East Asian
Bringing out that the Navy has been progressively increasing the number
of warships based in the Andaman and Nicobar Command, Admiral Nirmal
Verma said Port Blair will be home to amphibious platforms, Naval
Offshore Patrol Vessels and Fast Attack Craft as the Navy’s robust
acquisition plans progress”. Emphasizing upon the strategic location of
INS Baaz Admiral Verma reminded those gathered that INS Baaz, overlooks
the Strait of Malacca, while also dominating the 6 degree channel”.
INS Baaz is currently equipped to operate light to heavy aircraft
capable of short field operations from the runway of about 3500 feet.
The runway will be progressively lengthened to enable unrestricted
operation of all category of aircraft including heavy aircraft. The base
will also be bolstered with modern airfield instruments and navigation
Congratulating the Commanding Officer, Commander SK Singh Deo, Admiral
Verma acknowledged the contribution of the men in resolutely manning the
remote island territories. Admiral Verma said “the work undertaken by
each one of you, allows optimum exploitation of this strategic air
station”. Talking about its Admiral Verma said “One of the primary
functions of INS Baaz will be to provide information, based on
‘airborne’ maritime surveillance”. Admiral Verma added that airborne
surveillance using aircraft and UAVs remains invaluable to building
Maritime Domain Awareness.
The commissioning ceremony was attended by Lt Gen Naresh Marwah,
(CINCAN) Commander-in-Chief Andaman and Nicobar Command and Vice Admiral
Shekhar Sinha, (CISC) Chief of Integrated Defense Staff to Chairman
Chief of Staff Committee.
It may be recalled that the Government of India had recently sanctioned
numerous steps to fortify infrastructure in the strategically located
Andaman and Nicobar chain of Islands with forward operating bases in
Kamorta (Nicobar Islands) and Diglipur (Andaman) as well.
Pivoted around the Andaman and Nicobar Command, headquartered at Port
Blair, co-operative maritime engagement with South East Asian and East
Asian countries is also being constantly enhanced through initiatives
like the MILAN series of exercises, co-operative patrols with countries
like Indonesia and Thailand and other Navy-to-Navy linkages with ASEAN
countries as distant as Vietnam.