Feb. 27, 2013 - By Vivek Raghuvanshi – Defense News
NEW DELHI — India will establish two more missile testing sites to complement the existing missile testing range in the eastern state of Orissa.
The Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) proposes to set up the sites at Rutland Island in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, and another one at Nagayalanka in Krishna District in the state of Andhra Pradesh.
“A proposal for diversion of forest land in Andaman and Nicobar Islands has been initiated by DRDO. A request has also been made to the government of Andhra Pradesh to [use] unassigned revenue and reserve forest land at Nagayalanka,” Defence Minister A.K. Antony said in a written reply to the Indian Parliament.
“Both the projects for setting up of Missile Test Ranges are at the initial planning stages and land acquisition process is on,” Antony wrote.
An official of DRDO said the missile testing range in the state of Orissa is overloaded.
The new test sites will be used for both short-range and long-range missions, the DRDO official said. India is already bulking its Tri-Command based at the Andaman and Nicobar islands. The Tri-Command has been upgraded with infrastructure and additional facilities.
The Indian Navy is proposing to station a nuclear submarine and a landing deck platform at the islands in the future, a Defence Ministry source said.
The Air Force has decided to place its Russian-made Su-30MKI fighter jets in the Andaman and Nicobar islands and is increasing the number of operable airfields there.
The Andaman and Nicobar islands comprise a chain of 572 islands less than 100 kilometers from the Indonesian coast. A joint command was established there in 2001 to boost India’s ability to rapidly deploy troops in the region.