Navy plans coast battery at Sagar Islands

In a strategic move in its defence and strengthen surveillance capabilities, the Navy is in planning for a full-fledged coast battery at the Sagar Islands on West Bengal's coast.

"There used to be a coast battery at Diamond Harbour, but was shut down after Haldia port expanded. Since then, the strategic coast line all along the Sunderbans and adjoining areas is lying vacant," said Naval Officer-in-Charge, West Bengal, Commodore Ravi Ahluwalia said.

"We urgently need a coast battery in the area, specially at Sagar Island, given the rapid rise of naval acquisitions of Bangladesh and movement of foreign ships including fishing trawlers from neighbouring countries," Ahluwalia said.

Land-based Naval Coast Batteries primarily perform a defensive role against attacking warships and hostile incoming aircraft. The Navy is looking toward acquiring anti-ship cruise missiles, requiring the missile to minimally, perform a pop-up terminal phase manoeuvre.

"Land has already been identified at the Sagar Islands and the process of acquisition is underway.

"We will build infrastructure to host P-series missiles or missiles mounted on Mobile Autonomous Launchers (trucks). We are eager to have land-to-ship missiles and surface-to-air missiles from this coast battery," said Ahluwalia.

"The Sagar Island coast battery would also have its own radar system as well as examination anchorage for physical verification of ships and mid-size boats to ensure maritime security and be prepared for hostile situations," he added.

The Navy is also eager to partly fund the Sagar Island deep water port along with the KoPT for securing confirmed berthing facilities to meet any eventuality and feed the requirements for its planned Sagar Island coast battery.

"Our coast battery system would also be a major base for the proposed Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), which is in the pipeline to take off from its planned primary base from Behala in Kolkata," Ahluwalia said.

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