Assertive ANC set to become a formidable force: CINCAN

Extension of Shippur & C/Bay airstrips on war footing <First civilian aircraft to touch down at Shibpur in Feb 2019 <New airfield at Kamorta <250 cr. resurfacing of runaway at INS Utkrosh to begin <Permanent base for fighter aircrafts imperative <Joi
Report by: 
ROOPA LALL
Port Blair
8 Oct 2018

The Andaman Nicobar Command (ANC) would become a formidable force with more feet accretions, inductions and augmentation of related supportive infrastructure in a gradual manner. Several important projects of strategic significance are underway and the induction of additional assets like an Engineer Regiment, LCUs, FDN-2, BMPs and TA Bn has added more teeth to the operational capabilities of the Command, said Vice Admiral Bimal Verma, Commander-in-Chief, ANC, on Monday. Addressing a presser at Zephyr, Haddo on the occasion of the 18th Raising Day of the tri-services, Vice Admiral Bimal Verma outlined the operational readiness of the Command and brought out its implication on the security of these islands. “All ranks of the Command have proved their effective role in safeguarding our maritime boundaries including the exclusive economic zone of the country. The Command is fully committed toward the safety, security and development of these islands and will remain at the forefront guarding this strategic territory and its citizens,” reiterated the Commander-in-Chief.
Speaking about some future plans of the Command, Vice Admiral Bimal Verma informed that works are progressing on a war-footing for extension of air strips at Shibpur in Diglipur and the one at Campbell Bay. “The Command is also pushing hard for the proposed new airfield at Kamorta located at a high ground. Both the air strips at Campbell Bay and Shibpur will be extended to 3000 mtrs from 1000 mtrs and the first civilian aircraft is expected to touch down at Shibpur in February 2019. The initiative will give a bolster to regional air connectivity under the UDAAN scheme of the Union Government. Further, OTR Ports will come up at Diglipur, Campbell Bay and Kamorta, while extension of Naval Jetty here is in progress,” he informed.
Approval for resurfacing of the runaway at INS Utkrosh here has been accorded and the 250 crore project will be undertaken in consultation with the civil administration and the Airport Authority of India as the work is likely to cause minor disruption in flight operations, informed the Commander-in-Chief. Resurfacing of the runway at Car Nicobar will also be undertaken soon, he said.
To a question of permanently stationing fighter aircrafts and other combat platforms in these islands, the Vice Admiral said that there are limitations to the length of the runways of the ANC, which will need upgrades to house fighter jets permanently. Routine repair and maintenance of fighter jets is another issue for which the Command is presently not fully equipped. However, a permanent base for fighter aircrafts is imperative to improve the effectiveness and strength of the Command and efforts are on to achieve this in a phased manner. In the first stage, the Air Force would only be sending temporary detachments here,” he informed.
Elaborating about the first joint logistics node set up at the tri-services command to provide logistical support to all three defence services and to improve utilisation of resources, manpower and remove duplication, the Commander-in-Chief informed that Tri-services Detachment at Material Organisation will meet logistical needs of the armed forces and the Triservices Advanced Detachment (TRISAD) will be based in mainland and responsible for sending troops and equipment to the nodes. “The entire logistical requirement of ANC for the three services will come under the Joint Logistics Command & Control Centre (JLC&CC). Initially, it’ll look at critical requirements such as storage, transport, warehouses and inventory management and eventually cover rest of the items. Material Organization will consist of logistical manpower of the three services and will make automated inventory for common use items. For this, around 1500 common items have been identified so far,” said Vice Admiral Bimal Verma.
Earlier, the Command Plans Officer highlighted some of the major achievements of the tri-services Command in the past one year. Following apprehension of 16 poachers this year, the Command carried out dedicated anti-poaching missions both by Air and Surface assets continuously for 40 days around Little Andaman Island from  July 1 to August 9, 2018. To further bolster the overall security scenario, a temporary post has also been set up at Landfall Island to check illegal migration from Myanmar. Surveillance on the western coast of the Islands, both by air and ships, has also been re-doubled. Defence of Andaman and Nicobar Exercise (DANX) and Exercise KAVACH validated the defence and operational logistics plan of the Command towards ensuring territorial integrity of Andaman and Nicobar Islands, while MILAN, the biennial meeting of navies of Indian Ocean region held in March this year saw a diverse mix of professional exercises and seminars, social events and sporting fixtures. Induction of FDN-2, commissioning of INCLU 53 and 54, BMPs and TA Battalion of Madras are among major inductions of the ANC. The Command Plans Officer also highlighted about Search and Rescue Operations, Humanitarian Assistance and Relief, Medical Evacuations, activities of Defence Wives Welfare Association, Organ Donation and other social outreach campaigns undertaken by the Command in the last one year. 
In 1999, after the Kargil War, Andaman and Nicobar Islands received more attention. The Group of Ministers (GoM) report on Reforming the National Security System recommended the replacement of the FORTAN, under the Indian Navy, with a Joint Andaman and Nicobar Command which will control the assets of the tri-services and the Coast Guard on the islands. The GoM had recommended that the Commander of this Joint Command would report to the proposed Chief of Defence Staff (CDS). The Andaman and Nicobar Command was in place by the end of September 2001 and Vice Admiral (later Admiral and CNS) Arun Prakash was the first Commander–in–Chief of the Andaman & Nicobar Command (CINCAN).