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India enhancing security in Andaman & Nicobar: Navy Chief

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NEW DELHI (PTI): India is beefing up security capacity in the "strategically important" Andaman and Nicobar Islands by building up assets and infrastructure there even as it monitors activities of Chinese Navy in the Indian Ocean region, Navy chief Admiral R K Dhowan said Thursday.

The aim is to ensure that the islands are not only well protected but also act as a strategic location so that it can be used to base aircraft, ships and submarines, he said.

"Andaman and Nicobar islands are very strategically located. They overlook the entire sealines of communication and choke lines (in Indian Ocean region)," Dhowan said at his annual press conference in Delhi.

He said every year about 1,20,000 ships pass through the Indian Ocean and nearly 70,000 of them pass through the Malacca Strait.

"The proximity of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands to Malacca Strait makes them very strategic with regard to monitoring of the area and keeping the choke points under surveillance," he said.

Keeping security arrangements in mind, the Navy is carrying out enhancement of its assets and infrastructure in the islands, which come under a tri-service command, he said, adding that the enhancement of capacity of the ports and harbour airfield are being carried out, including extension of runway.

"All these are being given due importance and priority they require," he said.

The Navy Chief said Andaman and Nicobar Islands are "very very important aspect" in a security location and act as the extended arms of the country.

He said it was necessary to deploy ships, submarines and aircraft there so that we can carry out our surveillance in important sea lines of communication.

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