New Delhi: With China increasingly becoming a factor to contend with in the waters of the Bay of Bengal the Indian Navy is in the process of upgrading its Eastern Naval Command (ENC) to full force strength, at par with the Western Naval Command. The upgrade also keeps India's 'Look East' policy in mind, as trade with the ASEAN bloc of nations burgeons.
As part of the upgrade, force levels on the eastern coast are receiving a big boost with the addition of new warships, aircraft and spy drones as well as forward-operating bases (FOBs).
Keeping the rapidly rising strength of the command in mind the Navy has now upgraded the post of chief of staff (CoS) at the ENC to three-star rank, the same as with its counterpart at the western command.
Rear Admiral S Lanba will now become the first officer to assume command as CoS with three-star rank on 1 May, when he is elevated to the rank of vice admiral.
As part of the upgrade the Indian Navy will deploy its amphibious warship INS Jalashwa, Shivalik class frigates and the P-8I long range maritime surveillance aircraft on the eastern front. It also plans to deploy one of its two future aircraft carriers on the east coast.
The east coast faces six littoral states including Bangladesh, Myanmar, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and Sri Lanka.