The aim is to make the strategic naval base at Karwar in coastal Karnataka as the largest such base in Asia, said defence minister Rajnath Singh, promising that additional funds will be provided for it if required.
Reviewing the progress of infrastructure development at Karwar under Project Seabird, along with Navy chief Admiral Karambir Singh, the minister said the base will not only further bolster the country’s operational military readiness, but also help in augmenting trade, economy and humanitarian aid operations in the region.
Already the home base for several frontline warships, including aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya, the completion of the ongoing Phase-IIA of Project Seabird will enable Karwar to berth 32 major warships and submarines. Project Seabird involves construction of a naval base over an area of 11,169 acres. Phase I comprises construction of deep-sea harbour, breakwaters, dredging, a township, a naval hospital, a dockyard uplift centre and a ship lift. An airstrip, with an air station and a naval research centre are coming up in the second phase.
The base provides the Navy with both strategic depth and operational flexibility on the western seaboard, especially against Pakistan, while also helping in the endeavour to decongest Mumbai.
The Navy has played a key role in enhancing India’s ties with its maritime neighbours as well as ensuring stability and security in the Indian Ocean Region in accordance with PM Modi’s vision of `Sagar’ (security and growth for all in the region), said Rajnath Singh. The minister interacted with the contractors and engineers working on the project at the Karwar naval base. In his address, he said that the Kawar naval base would further bolster the operational readiness of the armed forces and help in augmenting trade, economy and humanitarian aid operations.
Accompanied by chief of the naval staff Admiral Karambir Singh, the defence minister undertook an aerial survey of the project area and sites before arriving at the INS Kadamba helipad.
A statement from the Indian Navy said that Singh inspected the ongoing works at Karwar and received on-site briefings, including capability demonstration, at the shiplift tower.
The defence minister’s visit to Karwar is part of a two-day itinerary which culminates in Kochi, where Singh will be briefed about the construction of India’s first indigenously built aircraft carrier Vikrant.