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March 4, 2024

India Plans New Naval Base Near Maldives Amidst Growing Tensions

India has announced its intentions to construct a new naval base, INS Jatayu, on Minicoy Island, located close to the Maldives, amidst escalating tensions between the two nations. The move comes as part of India’s strategic efforts to bolster its presence in the region and enhance security measures.

The Indian Navy revealed its plans on Saturday to establish the new base, emphasizing its significance in expanding operational reach and facilitating anti-piracy and anti-narcotics operations in the Western Arabian Sea. The proposed base on Minicoy Island, the southernmost island in the Lakshadweep archipelago, is strategically positioned to strengthen India’s maritime capabilities and serve as a vital response hub in the region.

According to the navy statement, INS Jatayu will play a crucial role in augmenting connectivity with the mainland and reinforcing India’s role as a key security provider in the Indian Ocean region. The decision aligns with India’s policy to gradually enhance security infrastructure at strategically important locations, underscoring its commitment to safeguarding national interests.

The announcement comes against the backdrop of escalating tensions between India and the Maldives, exacerbated by recent geopolitical developments. Tensions have risen since Maldives President Mohamed Muizzu assumed office last year, particularly following his visit to China before India and his firm stance against external interference in Maldives’ affairs.

In response to incidents of diplomatic friction, India has taken proactive measures to assert its influence in the region, including the decision to establish the new naval base near the Maldives. The move reflects India’s resolve to safeguard its interests and maintain stability in the Indian Ocean region amidst evolving geopolitical dynamics.

India’s existing naval presence in the Lakshadweep islands, exemplified by INS Dweeprakshak on Kavaratti, serves as a foundation for expanding its maritime capabilities and strengthening its maritime security posture. The establishment of INS Jatayu underscores India’s commitment to enhancing its maritime domain awareness and protecting vital sea lanes of communication.

As India moves forward with its plans to bolster naval infrastructure near the Maldives, the strategic significance of the Indian Ocean region continues to grow. The establishment of INS Jatayu reaffirms India’s role as a responsible maritime stakeholder and underscores its commitment to ensuring peace, stability, and prosperity in the region.

Rajan Shukla

Rajan Shukla

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