INS Vikramaditya

NEW DELHI (Agencies): India is gearing up to establish its largest naval base, INS Kadamba, located in Karwar on the Western seacoast. This base is the only port solely operated by the Indian Navy and is set to become the largest naval base east of the Suez Canal.

INS Kadamba is home to India’s aircraft carrier, the INS Vikramaditya (formerly known as Admiral Gorshkov). The base now boasts India’s first ship-lift facility, designed to lift submarines and warships for docking and undocking.

Situated close to Pakistan, INS Kadamba is comparable to the expansive Norfolk naval base in Virginia, operated by the US Navy. This strategic location provides the Indian Navy with increased operational flexibility, a significant advantage considering the security challenges faced by its Western fleet based in Mumbai during the 1971 India-Pakistan war.

Project Seabird, as INS Kadamba is also known, is the first operational base with a port exclusively controlled by the Navy. This allows the Navy to position and maneuver its operational fleet without the concern of merchant vessel movement.

The Indian Navy operates two other ports in Mumbai and Visakhapatnam, both located within commercial ports. The movement of warships amidst merchant vessels can be challenging during times of war. However, with INS Kadamba, the Indian Navy, positioned as the first responder in the Indian Ocean Region, gains an advantage. The base is closer to one of the world’s busiest sea lanes and is still out of Pakistan’s fighter jets’ strike range.

INS Kadamba is a natural deep-water harbor with ample depth and land availability, allowing for the berthing of larger aircraft carriers. The base can accommodate an aircraft carrier, destroyers, stealth frigates, and submarines. Its primary functions include the maintenance, overhaul, and repair of the surface and submarine fleet.

INS Kadamba is the only base in India that can host large ships like the 44,500-tonne Kiev class Soviet-built Admiral Gorshkov. In contrast, the largest naval port in terms of berthing facilities, Vishakhapatnam on the eastern coast, can berth around 50 ships but lacks the required depth for ships like the indigenous aircraft carrier INS Vikrant, which has a displacement of around 40,000 tons. Also, the approach channel to the Visakhapatnam port is not straight, making the maneuvering of longer vessels tricky.

In 2023, the INS Vikrant berthed at the Karwar naval base for the first time, marking a significant milestone in India’s naval capabilities.

By Media

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