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Business News/ News / India/  Maldives row: India plans new airport at Lakshadweep's Minicoy Island for civil, military aircraft
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Maldives row: India plans new airport at Lakshadweep's Minicoy Island for civil, military aircraft

To promote the Lakshadweep islands for tourism, India plans to develop a new airfield at Minicoy Island that would be capable of operating commercial and military aircraft, including fighter jets

From the military point of view, the proposed airfield in Lakshadweep would give India a strong capability as it can be used as a base to keep an eye on the Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean region.Premium
From the military point of view, the proposed airfield in Lakshadweep would give India a strong capability as it can be used as a base to keep an eye on the Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean region.

Amid an ongoing row with the Maldives, the Indian government is planning to build a new airfield at Minicoy Island of Lakshadweep which would be capable of operating civilian and military aircraft, including fighter jets, news agency ANI reported on Tuesday citing sources.

"The plan is to have a joint airfield that would be capable of operating fighter jets, military transport planes and commercial aircraft," ANI quoted government sources as saying.

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Previously, proposals for the development of a new airfield at Minicoy Island were submitted to the government. The proposal, now revived, has been presented to the government again, with the intention of joint usage. 

The move aims not only to promote tourism in the Lakshadweep islands but also to strengthen the surveillance capabilities over the Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean region, with the development of the airfield.

Also Read | India-Maldives row: ‘Around 1,300 passengers fly to…’, says Blue Star Air Travel

The proposal for the airfield was first put forth by the Indian Coast Guard, making it the first force under the Defence Ministry to do so. The current proposal suggests the Indian Air Force will lead the operations from the airfield, located in Minicoy Island.

The Minicoy airport, once operational, will enhance the defence forces' surveillance capabilities in the Arabian Sea. Additionally, it will stimulate regional tourism, as outlined in the government's plans.

Also Read | India promoting Lakshadweep beaches for tourism. Why it's hurting Maldives?

Currently, the Lakshadweep Islands house a single airstrip in Agatti, which restricts the variety of aircraft. This move follows Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to the region last week and the controversy with Maldives that swiftly followed.

Also Read | InsuranceDekho joins BoycottMaldives trend, stops travel insurance to Maldives

Lakshadweep has been the centre of discussion and attraction since the visit by PM Modi there last week. Politicians in the Maldives' ruling party, the Maldivian Democratic Party, have been trying to criticise the Indian government's plans to promote Lakshadweep as a tourist attraction and have tweeted against PM Modi and India. 

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Published: 09 Jan 2024, 03:49 PM IST
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