By Mei Jingya, Sina English
India will soon open a new naval base, named as Baaz (Hawk), in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands to keep an eye on maritime security around the Strait of Malacca, Indian media reported Tuesday, citing anonymous defense sources.
The new naval base, straddling a key location in the Indian Ocean overlooking the mouth of Malacca straits, will be operating heavier military planes from the Indian air fleet including the US-made special forces plane, C130Js.
The Strait of Malacca is a key maritime chokepoint that acts as a link between the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean, connecting East Asia, Australia and the US with Asia and Africa.
At least a quarter of the world's trade passes through Malacca Straits and more importantly, at least 80 percent of China's oil requirements pass through this choke point.
Analysts say the move by India, besides increasing India's strategic reach in the region, is also aimed at countering China, stemming the country’s growing influence in the Asia Pacific.