The Naval Air Station at Campbell Bay on Great Nicobar Island, was on 31JUL12 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”. They also sit astride some of the busiest shipping lanes of the Indian Ocean, most carrying strategic cargo for East Asian economies”.
While 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 the strategic location of INS Baaz Admiral Verma reminded those gathered that the station overlooks the Strait of Malacca, while also dominating the 6 degree channel”.
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.