Though the Ministry of Defence (MoD) is ‘serious’ about the proposal for a naval station and jetty at the Vizhinjam International Seaport Ltd., which is on the cards, it will have to follow certain procedures before granting clearance, Union Defence Minister A.K. Antony has said.
“We are examining the proposal and we held a meeting just about two weeks ago. But since it involves certain financial commitments, we should follow the set procedures. The Navy is fast-expanding and in need of more berthing space. So we are interested in the project. We are keen to be part of the proposed outer harbour project of the Cochin Port as well,” Mr. Antony told the media after attending a Coast Guard investiture ceremony at Fort Kochi on Sunday.
The Hindu, on Sunday, had reported that the ministry was dragging its feet on the proposal.
To a question on instances of human trafficking off the Andaman and Nicobar islands, Mr. Antony said human trafficking was a major problem facing the world. “It is on the rise in our area also,” he conceded and said people were mostly being trafficked to Australia.
He said the second phase of the coastal radar network, which would see the setting up of 38 static sensors, would begin soon. “Except for one-odd place, the first phase is complete on the mainland. Of the four sensors allocated to the Andaman and Nicobar islands, three would be up and running soon. The fourth, the installation of which was stopped following objections on environmental grounds, would be shifted to a suitable location nearby. We are on the lookout,” he said.