Two weeks ago the navy received orders to implement a tectonic shift. The most lethal fighters flying the Indian colours as on date, navy's MiG29K/KUB, will for the first time in over four years of their service, 'look east'. Preparations have begun to deploy and permanently base a full squadron (consisting 17 aircraft) of these fighters to strengthen the security of India's energy-rich and trade-wise vital, eastern seaboard. Next year onwards, these jets will make the naval airbase INS Dega, in Vishakapatnam, their home. Earlier this month, an initial sanction of Rs.450 crore was accorded for building related technical support and infrastructure facilities here.
Barring training and detachment duties, these fighters, till date, have remained at their home base INS Hansa in Goa when not embarked on aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya.
Basing the MiG29K/KUB in Vishakapatnam will not just provide a fillip to the immediate maritime security scenario but also bring closer the island territories in Andaman and Nicobar in addition to creating a ready window into the increasingly volatile south-east Asian waters. These multirole jets are designed to function