Surface Forces: The Indian Navy Turns East


October 21, 2006: India is building a new naval base on its east coast, facing China, and South East Asia. The new base is being built fifty kilometers south of Visakhapatnam, India's largest commercial port (in terms of cargo tonnage unloaded). Visakhapatnam already contains a naval base, currently the only one on the east coast, but there is no room for expansion. The Indian navy, the fifth largest in the world, continues to grow, and the new base will be able to handle two aircraft carriers, and over a dozen smaller war ships. In the past, most naval bases were on the west coast, facing Pakistan, the only nation that is a serious military threat to India in the region. But India sees its future to the east. For example, about half of Indias sea-going trade passes through the Straits of Malacca, off the south tip of Malaysia. It will take at least five years for the new base, which will require 5,000 acres of land, to be built, and get a name.


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