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  • Context (IE I TH): Naval Detachment Minicoy will be commissioned as INS Jatayu, an upgraded naval base.
  • India has had a naval detachment in Minicoy, the southernmost atoll of the Lakshwadeep archipelago, since the 1980s.
  • It will become a naval base with more facilities like an airfield, housing, and personnel.
  • INS Jatayu will effectively be the country’s second naval base in Lakshadweep.
  • The Navy’s first base on the islands, INS Dweeprakshak in Kavaratti, was commissioned in 2012.
  • The GoI is also in the final stages of approving a new airport on Minicoy for both military and civilian use. Lakshadweep has one airstrip at Agatti, but it can only be used by narrow-body aircraft.
    • The airstrip will cater to both fighter jets and transport aircraft.
    • The Indian Air Force (IAF) will be the lead agency for this project.
  • Names of ships, bases, and detachments of the Indian Navy carry the prefix INS.
  • A naval detachment provides administrative, logistics, and medical support.

 INS Jatayu

Significance

Strategic location

  • It enhances Navy surveillance and operations.
    • Minicoy overlooks vital Sea Lines of Communication (SLOCs) in the Arabian Sea and provides a strategic vantage point for monitoring maritime traffic.
  • SLOCs refer to the main maritime routes between ports, which are essential for trade, logistics, and naval activities.

Maritime Security and Operational Range

  • It broadens the Navy’s operational range, enhancing anti-piracy and anti-narcotics efforts in the Western Arabian Sea.
  • It underscores India’s commitment to maritime security in a vital area for global trade and energy supplies.
  • It will also augment the Indian Navy’s capability as the first responder in the region and augment connectivity with the mainland.
  • It will be capable of complete maritime operations just like the Navy’s other facilities, especially the INS Baaz, located on the east coast of India in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

Geopolitical dynamics

  • Given the changing geopolitical landscape, especially China’s growing influence in the Indian Ocean region, the establishment assumes greater significance.
  • It is also essential because of strained relations with the Maldives following the election of a pro-China president.
    • India and Mauritius recently jointly inaugurated an airstrip and a jetty on the Mauritian island of Agaléga, showcasing India’s strategic interests in the Indian Ocean.

Indian ocean Lakshadweep

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