The Indian Navy has started the process of setting up a coastal battery on Sagar Island of the Bay of Bengal with China increasing its presence in the littorals of Bangladesh and Myanmar at the backdrop.
"The land has been identified. The process of taking it over is on. We have received clearance from the environment ministry. It was earlier pending. However, the transport link to the proposed base is essential to rush a vehicle, carrying a missile for firing, from the city. If good roads are built it will be helpful for the project", Commodore Suprobho K. De, naval officer-in-charge (West Bengal), said while addressing the media in Kolkata.
Commodore De added that the original plan of the project has been modified to accommodate temporary as well as mobile infrastructure that would be suitable for firing missiles like the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile.
"The entire concept is now about having a temporary and mobile infrastructure for firing missiles. It is now conceived as a mobile coastal battery", Commodore Suprobho K. De added.
The concept was first promulgated by the Indian Navy in 2013 in wake of the aggressive purchase of naval platforms including Chinese submarines by Bangladesh and Myanmar.
In November, China signed an agreement with Myanmar to develop Kyaukpyu port under China-Myanmar Economic Corridor that would lead to a further enhancement in China's geostrategic stakes in the Bay of Bengal.
"In any case, China has always been on the lookout for maritime facilities in Bangladesh, Myanmar and Sri Lanka, which it could also use to enhance the sustenance of its naval forces in the area", Captain (Dr) Gurpreet Khurana, executive director, National Maritime Foundation, told Sputnik.
Mobile, land-based coastal batteries are used by some European countries as training. A land-based coastal defence unit is more cost-efficient than deploying a large navy in order to control offshore waters.