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Eastern Naval Command

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The Eastern Naval Command (ENC), with its HQs in Visakhapatnam (Vizag), is commanded by the Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, currently Vice Admiral Arun Kumar Singh. The ENC is a full-fledged operational command, whose primary role is to safeguard against aggression on the eastern front and provide security to Indian territory, ports, harbours, oil platforms and other maritime assets & resources in India's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). Over 200 merchant ships, carrying vital cargo including 10 million barrels of crude oil, transit through the Malacca Straits every day. These vessels depend on the Indian Navy for their safe passage.

The ENC also assists the Coast Guard in anti-poaching and search and rescue operations in these waters. Displaying a sustained presence of naval forces in the area of responsibility is thus another vital functional requirement of the ENC. The Command came into existence in June 1971 with the basing of a small naval force at Vizag and initially comprised the aircraft carrier INS Vikrant, a few escort ships and some amphibious ships. Today, the fleet has metamorphosed into a composite force with multifarious capabilities which include guided-missile destroyers/frigates, missile corvettes, anti-submarine vessels, amphibious warfare ships and offshore patrol vessels. The ENC is also home for the Indian Navy's submarine arm, which includes a submarine base and as well as a submarine training school. There are plans to set up an amphibious warfare training school at Kakinda. Shipbuilding facilities include the Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers (GRSE) in Kolkata (formerly Calcutta) and Hindustan Shipyard Limited (HSL) in Vizag.

A new naval base is being set up 50 km south of Vizag and is designed to help protect the country's trade with Southeast Asia and monitor China's naval posture in the Bay of Bengal. The base is expected to berth two aircraft carriers, support ships & submarines by providing better anchorage facilities and will also decongest the Vizag naval base. There is a need for appropriate infrastructure for newer ships, such as the up-coming Indigenous Aircraft Carrier, which will feature specialized berthing and service facilities. This new base will also further bolster the Andaman & Nicobar Command (ANC), which is vital for India's economic and strategic relations with her Southeast Asian neighbours. In addition, the ANC is vulnerable to seismic and tsunami threats and thus a second naval base on the eastern mainland of India is crucial. The base is planned to have significant amphibious and surface/submarine warfare capability, which is a direct result of the growing Chinese naval force in Myanmar. The base will also serve as an launch point, for future Indian naval exercises in the South China Sea with the navies of China-wary countries. The location of the base is idyllic, as it is tucked away from the heart of the Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean; yet these are easily accessible from the base, as is the Malacca Strait. It is not far from Bangladesh or Myanmar either - where the Chinese naval presence poses a threat to India - as Kolkata is; yet it is close enough to 'watch and listen' to Chinese naval activity there. Of the 5000 acres sought after by the Ministry of Defense, the Government of Andhra Pradesh - the state where the base will be located - has already allotted 500 acres and the remaining land is to be assigned shortly.

The FOC-in-C (East) is the submarine operating authority, under whom Commodore Commanding Submarines (East) [COMCOS (E)] operate. The 11th (Sindhugosh Class) and 08th (Foxtrot Class) Submarine Squadrons operate under COMCOS (E). INS Virbahu, a submarine base commissioned on 19 May 1971, is the alma matar of the Indian Navy submariners. This base provides administrative support as well as for training of submarine personnel. INS Virbahu now primarily functions as shore support unit for providing administrative, logistic and operational support to the submarines based on the East Coast. Vizag is also home to the HQ for Flag Officer Submarines (FOSM) and is responsible for all submarine matters. A senior advisory naval staff at APSO (Assistant Principal Staff Officer) level as ACNS (SM) - Assistant Chief of Naval Staff (Submarines) - was set up at Naval HQ in New Delhi to oversee the working of all the directorates dealing with submarines and to act as the nodal point for all submarine-related activities in the Indian Navy. INS Satavahana, located at Vizag, was commissioned on 21 December 1974 to meet the requirement of the growing submarine fleet. With time, it has also evolved and is now equipped with the state of art training aids, equipment and simulators to ensure that the 'sentinels of the deep' remain the fierce prowlers and predators that they ought to be to keep our shores clear of the enemy. It has now acquired an awesome reputation both in India and abroad for competent and professional training imparted to officers and sailors of the submarine arm. The Escape Training School (ETS) for the submariners functions under INS Satavahana.

INS Chilka, located in Orrisa, is a premier basic training establishment for sailors of the Indian Navy. After recruitment, all sailors undergo their basic naval training here for about 6 months before they branch off into various trades for specialized training. The institution also offers training for Coast Guard sailors. The commissioning of INS Chilka (21 February 1980) in the historic Chilka Lake has ushered in a period of revival of the time honoured maritime traditions. Chilka, the largest salt water lagoon in India, is connected to the Bay of Bengal. Dotted with over a hundred tiny and beautiful islands, Chilka Lake covers about 950 to 1150 sq km. INS Chilka, spread over an area of 1530 acres, trains sailors for the Navy who are recruited from various parts of the country. Training is imparted to Direct Entry Diploma Holders (DEDH), Yantriks (Coast Guard), Artificer Apprentices (AA), Matric Entry Recruits (MER) and Naviks (General Duty, Coast Guard), Non-Matric Entry Recruits (NMER), Naviks (Domestic Branch, Coast Guard) and Acting Petty Officers who are outstanding sportsmen of national repute. About 1500 trainees pass out from INS Chilka every six months on completion of their basic training for professional and seamanship courses.

Training of the recruits has been designed so as to develop their mental and physical faculties. It also instils in them a sense of adventure, self-confidence, competitive spirit and above all, high values of a disciplined life. The main emphasis in training is on the mastery of professional subjects with a service bias in order to equip the trainees with adequate knowledge to shoulder responsible duties afloat and ashore. Highly sophisticated models and training aids are used in imparting training. The progressive use of modern techniques and training with modern facilities like language laboratory, computer literacy centre and various seamanship model rooms has brought about a marked change in choosing the right man for the right job thereby boosting the overall image of the service in the changing times. Apart from regular classroom instructions, the sailors receive training in outdoor and waterborne activities to develop physical stamina and strength to inculcate esprit-de-corps and camaraderie. The training also exposes them to various adventurous activities like route march, sailing expedition and lake swimming. The regimental drill, cross country, troop games and seamanship is also imbibed within the sailors.

• INS Kattabomman, located at Tirunelveli, Tamil Nadu is home to a VLF (Very Low Frequency) station and communications network. It allows the Navy to communicate with its submarines, underwater, at long ranges. It can monitor surface vessels and can distinguish between merchant vessels and naval vessels over long distances in the Indian Ocean. It is the first of its kind in Asia and its technology was developed locally. VLF facilities exist at Chennai and Calcutta as well.

• INS Eksila, located at Vizag, is a premier technical establishment which houses with modern equipment, machinery and state-of-the-art facilities for undertaking a complete overhauling & repair of marine gas turbines and gas turbine generators of naval vessels. The Marine Gas Turbine Overhaul Centre (MGTOC) is a unique repair organisation which has earned international recognition as a centre of excellence in the field of gas turbine overhauls and repairs.

INS Agrani, located at Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu, is the Petty Officers' Leadership School.

INS Netaji Subhash, located at Calcutta, is a naval establishment.

INHS Kalyani, located at Vizag, is a Naval Hospital.

Last Updated on Monday, 27 October 2008 00:00  

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