10 Jan 2024

Strategic Moves: Modi Government Makes This Big Plan For Lakshadweep Amidst Tension with Maldives

Amidst heightened controversy surrounding Maldives tourism, the Modi government is charting a different course for Lakshadweep. A significant initiative is underway as the Indian government plans to construct a dual-purpose airport on Minicoy Island, Lakshadweep. This airfield is intended to facilitate the operations of fighter jets, military aircraft, and commercial planes. The proposal, initially focused on military use, has been upgraded to serve both military and civilian purposes.

The strategic significance of this development lies in the enhanced surveillance capabilities it offers in the Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean. With the ability to thwart pirate activities, India aims to bolster its maritime security through this initiative.

The decision to pursue this project coincides with tensions between India and Maldives, sparked by objectionable comments made by Maldivian ministers regarding Prime Minister Narendra Modi's recent visit to Lakshadweep. The move to strengthen security in Lakshadweep aligns with India's broader geopolitical interests and comes at a crucial juncture.

Air Force Operation

The Indian Air Force will oversee the operations of the proposed airfield, providing easier access for both the Navy and Air Force in the Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea. This move is seen as a strategic response to counteract increasing activities by China in the region.

Current Airstrip Limitations

As of now, Lakshadweep has only one airstrip located on Agatti Island, with limitations on the types of aircraft that can land there. The proposed airport on Minicoy Island aims to address these shortcomings and has undergone thorough reviews to ensure its viability.

Strengthening Defense in Lakshadweep

While the Indian Navy already maintains a strong presence in Lakshadweep with a naval base on Kavaratti Island, the focus is now shifting towards bolstering the Air Force's capabilities. The Southern Naval Command has operated INS Dweeprakshak in the region since 2012, contributing to the existing naval strength on Kavaratti Island since the 1980s.

In summary, the Modi government's ambitious plan for a dual-purpose airfield in Lakshadweep not only aims to address security concerns but also strategically positions India to navigate complex regional dynamics effectively.

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