Port Blair, July 25: Indian Navy is all set to commission Naval Air Station, Campbell Bay, will be commissioned as Indian Naval Ship Baaz on 31 July 2012.
Chairman Chiefs of Staff Committee and the Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Nirmal Verma, PVSM, AVSM, ADC will commission the strategically important Naval Base.
“The Government of India recognised the need for an outpost in the Great Nicobar Island chain as long back as 1978 when plans were set rolling for a Naval Air Station at Campbell Bay. In 1981 the construction of a small runway commenced. The Island was brought onto the air map of India serving as a rudimentary hub for air transportation, and, with great promise for development and capability accretion, when Admiral JG Nadkarni, the then CNS, inaugurated the Forward Operating Base on 04 May 1998,” Chief of Staff of Andaman and Nicobar Command, Rear Admiral Sudhir Pillai told media persons today while addressing a press conference.
From operations by the venerable Britten Norman Islander of the Indian Navy in those early years, the Forward Operating Base has since played hosts to the Dornier aircraft operated by the Indian Navy, IAF and the Coast Guard, the AN 32 transport aircraft and Mi 8 helicopters of the IAF and by Dauphin helicopters operated by Pawan Hans Limited.
The crucial role of the Air Station in support of these remote islands was demonstrated when the islands were devastated by the Tsunami in 2004.
“Commissioning of INS Baaz furthers the commitment of the Government of India to augmentation of the infrastructure, capabilities and capacities in these strategic islands, overseeing the security of the islands and the vast EEZ in these vital seas. The busy sea-lanes that lie off these Southern shores connect the West and the East. These sea lines of communication are crucial for security at sea, and, in ensuring freedom of navigation, so vital for the economic well being of nations and the world,” the Chief of Staff of ANC added.
The commissioning of ‘Baaz’ is a significant step as the Government of India has accepted the necessity to expand the runway and to add to facilities at the remote air station.
“The commissioning would be followed up by extension of the runway, such that the base can support and serve a wider variety of aircraft. With this seminal event, when NAS Campbell Bay spreads her wings as INS Baaz, ANC grows from being an experiment to an inspiration,” the COS added.