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IAF's Car Nicobar base battle-ready
The sonic boom generated by the Sukhoi-30 and Jaguar strike fighters as they tear into the sky over the Andaman and Nicobar Islands gives one clear signal: India recognises the archipelago's strategic value and is ready to secure the international sea lanes converging towards the Malacca Straits.

The IAF base here, the country's last defence outpost in the eastern region, has now arisen like the mythical phoenix from the ashes, after being devastated by the gigantic tsunami on December 26.

"The fighter operations demonstrate the Carnic base is fully combat ready now...the IAF flag is flying high here once again," said a "proud" IAF chief Air Chief Marshal S P Tyagi.

Grappling with the numbing loss of 116 lives of personnel and families, coupled with large-scale infrastructure damage, the IAF and Army worked round-the-clock to make the base fully operational in a short span of three months.

For instance, the repair work on the 8,790-feet runway, which was partly submerged by the waves, was completed during the nights, leaving the days open for relief flights.

Situated bang in the middle of the 572-island cluster spread over 720-km, the Carnic airbase virtually straddles one of the major trade routes of the globe.

"Two strategic waterways, the six and ten degree channels, pass through here. Moreover, 30% of India's Exclusive Economic Zone is around these islands," said A&N tri-service command chief Lt-Gen Aditya Singh.

The A&N Islands may be around 1,200 km away from Kolkata and Chennai but are just under 200 km from Myanmar. The Chinese military "listening" post at Coco Islands, leased by Myanmar, is in fact just 45 km away from the archipelago's northern tip.

Though the IAF has no immediate plans to base fighter squadrons at Carnic as of now, in addition to the existing Mi-8 helicopter squadron, it's fully confident of deploying fighters in the region in a jiffy if the need arises.

The four Jaguar maritime strike aircraft and two Sukhoi-30 "air superiority" fighters, after all, flew here for the combat exercises all the way from Pune and Bareilly.

"It took a six-hour sortie, with two mid-air refuellings from IL-78 tankers and some combat manoeuvres on the way, to reach here from Bareilly. It was tough being strapped in the cockpit for such a long time but well worth the effort," beamed a young Sukhoi pilot.



Posted by Jehangir Unwalla @ 1:44 PM

 

 
The global defense industry is constantly shaping how borders are protected, wars are fought, terrorists are tracked and caught, and global security maintained. We aim to track news, policy, military exercises and strategic affairs between the world's largest democracies - India and the United States.

Given the vast interest and passion we have in this field, we decided to launch this blog to give visitors the ability to track these developments, exchange ideas and link to other sources of Information. Our primary sources and links can be found on the main page. Some of the pieces published herein our ours, otherwise it is reproduced from other sources (news, think-tanks or publications) to provide our readers the ability to interact and respond. The link to the original source can always be found under the article. Articles and op-ed pieces written by us include thoughts and opinions that are ours, not those of any government or political party. Last but not least, this blog is not-for-profit, nor is it financially supported by any corporation, entity or organization. It is purely to be used for informational purposes and not commercial and/or profit motives.

Thank you, Nik Khanna & Jango Unwalla

 
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This blog focuses on current issues concerning defense and national security for the world's largest democracy - India. It is updated regularly providing readers with in-depth information on technology transfer, acquisitions, counter-terrorism, security and military collaboration and strategic dialogue between India and the United States. The site includes links to top defense policy & research institutes, think-tanks, military sites and research organizations.
Cooperative Cope Thunder
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