Kerala to be headquarters for country’s first amphibious brigade

October 5th, 2008 - 2:55 pm ICT by IANS  

Thiruvananthapuram, Oct 5 (IANS) Kerala is set to be home to the country’s first amphibious brigade as officials of the Indian Army are working at full steam to see the project through. Enough hints were dropped that the 91 Infantry Brigade stationed here would be the country’s first amphibious brigade by Lt. General Noble Thamburaj, GOC-in-C of Southern Army Command while interacting with the media late last month when he was here in connection with the Army Mela 2008.

Currently, there are two battalions and one brigade stationed here in the heart of the city in a campus of around 450 acres.

“Right now, there are 3,000 personnel and with the announcement to convert this into an amphibious brigade which will take place early next year in Delhi, the strength would go up to 5,000 personnel. Right now, one battalion due to lack of space is stationed in Bangalore,” a top defence official on condition of anonymity told IANS.

At a recent meeting of the ‘Civil Military Liaison Conference’, chaired by Kerala Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan, another 500 acres was promised to the brigade for the campus.

Lt. General Thomas Mathew, adjutant general who was also present during the Army Mela was briefed about the likely areas that the state government is considering to hand over to the army on the outskirts of the capital city.

“Tamil Nadu and Karnataka for long have been tempting officials by promising more than 3,000 acres of land for the amphibious brigade, but it is now certain that this (the brigade) would be here itself,” said the official.

In the 17th century, the Travancore forces used amphibious power to defeat the Dutch navy and this took place at Colachel (now in Tamil Nadu) about 50 km from the capital city.

In modern warfare, an amphibious landing of infantry troops on a beachhead is one of the most complex of all military manoeuvres.

It requires an intricate coordination of numerous military specialties, including air power, naval gunfire, naval transport, logistical planning, specialized equipment, land warfare, tactics, and extensive training in the nuances of this manoeuvre for all personnel involved.

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