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INS Jatayu: Ultimate Protector of the Indian Ocean

India, a country with a long coastline and a rich maritime heritage, acknowledges the crucial importance of protecting its territorial waters. Establishing strong naval bases is an important step toward achieving this goal. The INS Jatayu, which was commissioned in March 2024, is a symbol of India’s commitment to marine security, notably in the strategically crucial Lakshadweep archipelago.

What is INS Jatayu?

INS Jatayu is a ship of the Indian Navy. It’s a Water Jet Fast Attack Craft (WJFAC) used for patrolling and protecting coastal areas. The name “Jatayu” comes from Hindu mythology, where Jatayu was a noble eagle who fought to rescue Sita, the wife of Lord Rama, from the demon king Ravana. Similarly, INS Jatayu serves to protect India’s maritime borders and ensure security along the coastline. These ships are equipped with modern weaponry and surveillance systems to detect and deter any potential threats, making them vital assets for safeguarding the country’s maritime interests.

India’s Maritime Masterplan under CDS General Bipin Rawat

This big maritime move by India was part of a master plan drawn up when General Bipin Rawat was the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS).

The plan was more than just Minicoy Island; it was a massive chess game that involved modifying all aviation and navy bases in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands of the Bay of Bengal.

Even though the Minicoy Islands now have only a minor Indian Navy presence, their strategic importance is undeniable due to their location.

These islands are hidden gems waiting to be polished and turned into significant players in India’s defence strategy.

Mission and Goals of the INS Jatayu

INS Jatayu serves a variety of purposes, all aimed at improving India’s maritime security capability. Here’s a closer look at its main objectives:

  1. Enhanced Surveillance: INS Jatayu serves as a watchful eye on the Indian Ocean. The facility is outfitted with cutting-edge surveillance equipment to monitor nautical activity in the region. This comprises radars, communication devices, and possibly aerial and underwater surveillance platforms. The Indian Navy can identify and deter potential threats by constantly monitoring the situation.
  2. Faster Response: Prior to the creation of INS Jatayu, responding to maritime occurrences in the Lakshadweep Islands was time-consuming. The new base offers a favourable location for the deployment of naval assets. This enables a faster reaction to emergencies, search and rescue missions, and potential security threats.
  3. Logistical Support: INS Jatayu serves as a critical logistical base for Indian Navy operations in Lakshadweep and the neighbouring islands. The facility offers critical assistance to deployed naval ships, including refuelling, resupply, and repairs. This improved logistical capability expands the Indian Navy’s operating reach in the region.
  4. Disaster Relief: Natural disasters such as cyclones and tsunamis are common in the Lakshadweep Islands due to their geographic location. INS Jatayu can play an important part in disaster relief activities. The facility can be used as a staging area for the deployment of personnel and resources for rescue, rehabilitation, and disaster response missions.

India’s Naval Power Play: Securing Trade Routes and Countering China in the Indian Ocean

Get ready for an enormous maritime move by India! Defence Minister Rajnath Singh plans to visit Minicoy Island onboard the INS Vikramaditya and INS Vikrant. This visit is intended to inaugurate a new naval base called INS Jatayu on March 4-5.

Why Minicoy, After Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Lakshadweep, India decided to increase its naval presence there. With bases in Agatti and now Minicoy, India is safeguarding crucial maritime routes that carry billions of dollars in trade, especially between Southeast and North Asia.

Minicoy Island, located 524 kilometers from the Maldives, is a strategic location in the nine-degree channel, which is a major route for commercial ships. The plan aims to improve infrastructure and tourism in these island regions, in addition to increasing military power.

But waitā€”there’s more! The Indian Navy is moving things up to another level by holding the initial phase of the Combined Commanders Conference on aircraft carriers. INS Vikramaditya and INS Vikrant led a fleet of around 15 warships from Goa to Karwar, Minicoy Islands, and Kochi.

And it’s not just about flexing muscles. India is strategically combating China’s increasing navy in the Indian Ocean. The Andaman and Nicobar Islands, along with Lakshadweep and Minicoy, create an effective defense, safeguarding the safety and security of marine trade routes.

The carrier task forces travelling to the Minicoy Islands will be an impressive sight, accompanied by destroyers, frigates, and submarines. The magnitude of force deployment sends a clear message: India is serious about protecting its waterways as well as those of its allies.

The presence of Chinaā€™s navy in the Indian Ocean

Two recent reports are raising concerns about China’s activities in the Indian Ocean.

First, a joint maritime exercise called ‘Sea Guardians’ between the Chinese and Pakistani navies. They are preparing for this in the northern Arabian Sea. The appearance of a Chinese anti-piracy force, consisting of a destroyer, a frigate, a tanker, a submarine, and a support vessel, raised concern. Isn’t it strange that they would bring a submarine for anti-piracy operations? In addition, a Chinese surveillance ship named Shi-Yan 6 has been detected at Colombo Port. These Chinese dual-purpose ships make frequent calls in Sri Lankan ports.

Second, China’s People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) is developing its capabilities. Surprisingly, the PLAN is currently the world’s largest navy by sheer numbers, with over 370 ships and submarines, including more than 140 major surface combatants. it’s predicted to increase to 395 ships by 2025 and a whopping 435 by 2030! The PLAN is more than simply numbers; it is also quality, with advanced multi-mission ships and submarines, as well as three aircraft carriers. they’re also building more Amphibious Assault Ships (LHA), known as the YUSHEN class.

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