Navy creates separate Gujarat naval area

Gandhinagar/Mumbai, Oct 21 (IANS) With a view to enhance operational and administrative organisational structure, the Indian Navy on Wednesday created a new and separate Gujarat Naval Area, officials said.

Under the new arrangement, the sensitive and strategic border Gujarat shares with Pakistan will have a fulltime Flag Officer, while Maharashtra will have its own Flag Officer.

Both will continue to function under the jurisdiction of the Western Naval Command, headquartered in Mumbai.

On Wednesday, Rear Admiral Satish N. Ghormade assumed charge as Flag Officer of the Maharashtra Naval Area while Rear Admiral Murlidhar S. Pawar took over as the new Flag Officer of the Gujarat Naval Area – both senior and highly qualified officers.

The new Gujarat Naval Area will be headquartered in Gandhinagar, but till the requisite infrastructure is created, it will function from Mumbai, official sources said.

A few years ago, Karnataka and Goa were also split into independent identities with their Flag Officers, while Maharashtra and Gujarat functioned as a single entity – till date.

Along with the division, the sources said that security apparatus and operations would be significantly enhanced and developed to tackle the challenges emanating on the country’s north-western side.

Gujarat, dotted with several small, medium and big ports, is the only state which shares a land and sea border with Pakistan.

In view of its strategic location, certain naval assets would be deployed in the Gujarat Naval Area, though the sources declined to specify the type of assets.

The split will also make it easier for the Indian Navy to better coordinate with a majority of 15 governmental agencies, of which nearly 13-14 are with the respective state governments.

Simultaneously, Porbander and Okha would be developed into major ports with enhanced facilities. This would help decongest the Maharashtra Naval Area.

Some time ago, the Indian Coast Guard set up its north-western headquarters in Gujarat, while the Indian Air Force also has its area headquarters in Gandhinagar.

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