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Andaman & Nicobar Islands

Indian ships, aircraft widen search for missing Malaysian aircraft to Bay of Bengal

India has widened the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines aircraft, which disappeared from the radars early on Saturday while on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people board, to the Bay of Bengal at the request of the Malaysian government.
 
India has widened the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines aircraft, which disappeared from the radars early on Saturday while on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people board, to the Bay of Bengal at the request of the Malaysian government.
 
An official press release said here today that the Malaysian authorities had requested for the extension of the search to the Bay of Bengal in area of about 9000 sq km (15 km x 600 km).
 
"This area is approximately 900 km due west of Port Blair. Search in this area would be undertaken by the resources of Eastern Naval Command," it said.
 
Earlier, the Government had deployed assets of the Indian Navy, Indian Coast Guard and Indian Air Force in a coordinated search of the area in South Andaman Sea for the missing airliner, which also had five Indians and a Canadian of Indian origin among its passengers.
 
Indian Navy has been nominated as the lead service for the coordination of the operation. The joint effort is being coordinated from Maritime Operations Centre of the Indian Navy in New Delhi.
 
The release said specific areas had been allocated by the Malaysian authorities for search by Indian ships and aircraft. Presently, two ships of Indian Navy, INS Saryu and INS Kumbhir, are combing the designated areas in South Andaman Sea.
Hunt for missing jet spreads to Indian Ocean
 
INS Kesari has replaced INS Kumbhir at around 1500h today for the search as it is also carrying an integral helicopter.  In addition, two Coast Guard vessels are also carrying out search along the coastline. Two Dornier aircraft of Indian Navy and Coast Guard are also carrying out aerial search in the vicinity of the Andaman coastline.
 
The Joint Operations Room at Port Blair has been activated to monitor the progress of the search operations. The Commander-in-Chief Andaman and Nicobar Command has been nominated as the Overall Force Commander of the Indian Forces.
 
 
The Boeing B777-200 ER aircraft, operating flight MH370, was reported missing off the Vietnamese coast around 0240 hours Malaysian time on Saturday. 
 
The plane had departed from Kuala Lumpur at 1241 Saturday morning and was scheduled to land at Beijing International Airport at 6.30 am local Beijing time on the same day.
 
Over the past five days, a lot of information has been thrown up, but most of them have turned out to be false leads and a massive search operation, involving ships and aircraft from several countries, has not found any trace of the missing aircraft. India is the latest country to have joined the search efforts in its territorial waters.
 
Malaysian police have said they are looking at all kinds of possibilities, including terrorism, hijacking, sabotage, mechanical failure and passengers or crew members with personal or psychological problems.
 
The airline has deployed teams of caregivers in Kuala Lumpur and Beijing, consisting of its trained staff and volunteers from NGOs to take care of families of the passengers and crew of the aircraft.
 
Over the past four days, the search and rescue teams have expanded the scope of their operations beyond the flight path to the West Peninsula of Malaysia at the Straits of Malacca. 
 
"The authorities are looking at a possibility of an attempt made by MH370 to turn back to Subang. All angles are being looked at. We are not ruling out any possibilities," the airline had said in a statement on Tuesday.
 
The last known position of MH370 before it disappeared off the radar was 065515 North (longitude) and 1033443 East (latitude).
 
The search and rescue mission has been joined by teams from countries such as Australia, China, Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, Vietnam, Philippines, the United States of America and now India.
 
Apart from the search in the sea, search on land in between these areas is also being conducted.
 
The airline said the aircraft, was carrying a total of 239 people, comprising 227 passengers (including two infants) and 12 members of crew. 
 
According to the manifest, the Indians on the flight were identified as: Mr Vinod Kolekar, 59; Ms Chetana Kolekar, 55; Mr Swanand Kolekar, 23; Ms Chandrika Sharma, 51; and Mr Kranti Shirsath, 44. The list also includes a Canadian of Indian origin, Mr Muktesh Mukherjee, 42.
 
The passengers are of 14 different nationalities. All crew on board are Malaysians.
 
The passengers include 153 from China/Taiwan (including one infant), 38 from Malaysia, 5 Indians, 7 Indonesians, 6 Australians, four from France, three (including an infant) from the United States, two each from Ukraine, Canada and New Zealand, and one each from Russia, Italy, the Netherlands and Austria.
 
The flight was piloted by Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah, a Malaysian aged 53 with total flying hours of 18,365hours. He joined Malaysia Airlines in 1981. First officer, Fariq Ab.Hamid, a Malaysian, 27, has total flying hours of 2,763 hours. He joined Malaysia Airlines in 2007.
 
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The families of passengers may contact +603 7884 1234 (Kuala Lumpur) / +8610 6437 6249 (Beijing), the airline said.
 
Among the latest theories is one that suggests that the aircraft could have been deliberately flown across the Malay peninsula towards the Andaman Islands by someone with aviation training, hundreds of km from its intended flight path.
 
Malaysia Airlines did not give out any new information today, except to say that it would continue to cooperate with the search and rescue mission being coordinated by the Department of Civil Aviation under the Ministry of Transport.
 
"Malaysia Airlines is fully aware of the on-going media speculations and we have nothing further to add to the information we have already provided," it said.
 
"The aircraft is still missing, and the search area is expanding," Malaysia's acting Minister of Transport Hishamuddin Hussein told a press conference in Kuala Lumpur today.
 
"We are now pushing further into the South China Sea, and further into Indian Ocean," he said.
 
Mr Hussein said as many as 57 ships and 48 aircraft from 13 countries were involved in the search efforts. "Our priority remains finding the plane," he said.
 
He said investigating teams would not release any information until it had been properly verified and corroborated.
 
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Moderate earthquake shakes Nicobar Islands region

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An earthquake of moderate intensity, measuring 5.0 on the Richter scale, shook the Nicobar Islands region late last night.
 
A bulletin from the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said the quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 7.2°N and 94.9°E, occurred at 0018 hours today at a focal depth of 123 km.
 
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Principal Secretary to PM holds meeting on Cyclone 'Bulbul'

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P K Mishra, the Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister, held a high-level meeting today with the States of Odisha, West Bengal and Union Territory of Andaman and Nicobar Islands, to review their preparedness to deal with the approaching cyclonic storm "Bulbul".
 
The meeting reviewed the situation arising due to movement of the cyclone in the last few hours.
 
The Director-General of India Meteorological Department (IMD) gave a detailed forecast on Bulbul, its projected track and accompanying wind speed and rainfall in the sea and along the coasts of Odisha and West Bengal. 
 
He informed the meeting that coastal Odisha is likely to witness wind speed of 70-80 kmph gusting up to 90 kmph tomorrow, accompanied by heavy to very heavy rain.
 
A similar situation is likely to prevail in coastal West Bengal on November 9. Sea conditions will be very rough and fishing operations should be completely suspended, the IMD said.
 
The State Chief Secretaries informed the meeting that all precautionary measures had been taken in the coastal regions and that the situation was being monitored round the clock. Fishermen have been advised to not venture out to the sea and those at sea have been advised to return.
 
The Director General of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) told the meeting that its teams were fully prepared with all the  required equipment like tree cutters and pole cutters and are on standby. Indian Coast Guard is also on alert and advising fishermen and merchant ships not to venture out to the sea.
 
Mishra advised them to take all possible measures to ensure that casualties and loss to property are minimised. He also assured the States of all the necessary central assistance required in the developing situation.
 
The meeting was attended by the Principal Adviser to the Prime Minister; Secretaries of Home Affairs, and Information and Broadcasting; Member, NDMA; and senior officers from PMO and the Ministries of Home Affairs and Defence. The  Chief Secretaries/ representatives from West Bengal, Odisha and Andaman & Nicobar Islands joined the meeting through video conference.
 
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Admiral Karambir Singh reviews preparedness in remote Andaman outpost

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Admiral Karambir Singh, Chief of the Naval Staff, visited INS Baaz, Campbell Bay, Great Nicobar Island and spent a day with the personnel stationed in various units in Campbell Bay on Saturday.
 
He also extended warm greetings and best wishes to the personnel and their families on the auspicious occasion of Diwali.
 
During his interaction, Admiral Karambir Singh reiterated that the Andaman Nicobar islands were strategically important for national security. He appreciated the significant contribution made by INS Baaz, towards ensuring maritime security in the Bay of Bengal & Andaman Sea and substantially enhancing the Indian Navy’s maritime surveillance capability.
 
He also commended them on their role in provided succour to the local populace in times of need by facilitating the evacuation of medical emergencies. 
 
Campbell Bay is more than 1500 km from the mainland and 500 km from Port Blair.
 
Personnel from the IAF, Coast Guard District Headquarters, Territorial Army, Border Road Organisation, Defence civilians, A&N Police and Civil Administration were also present during this occasion.
 
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Minor earthquake shakes Nicobar Islands region

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An earthquake of slight intensity, measuring 4.3 on the Richter scale, shook the Nicobar Islands region this morning.
 
A bulletin from the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said the quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 7.9°N and longitude 94.4°E, occurred at 0636 hours at a focal depth of 180 km.
 
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Minor earthquake shakes Andaman Islands Region

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An earthquake of slight intensity, measuring 4.8 on the Richter scale, shook the Andaman Islands region in the early hours of today.
 
A  bulletin from the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said the quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 11.0°N  and longitude 91.7°E, occurred at 0045 hours at a focal depty of 10 km.
 
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Maiden India-Singapore-Thailand navies’ trilateral exercise commences

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A maiden trilateral exercise, involving Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN), Royal Thailand Navy (RTN) and Indian Navy (IN) commenced at Port Blair today.
 
The five-day-long exercise is aimed at bolstering the maritime inter-relationships among Singapore Thailand and India and contribute significantly to enhancing the overall maritime security in the region. 
 
This would also strengthen the confidence among the three navies in terms of interoperability and development of a common understanding of procedures, an offiicial press release said.
 
Under the ambit of this exercise, RSN Tenacious, a Formidable-class guided missile stealth frigate and His Majesty's Thailand Ship (HTMS) Kraburi, a Guided Missile Frigate would be exercising with Indian Naval Ships Ranvir, a Guided Missile Destroyer, Kora, a missile corvette and Sukanya, an Offshore Patrol Vessel along with P8I Long Range Maritime Reconnaissance aircraft.
 
During the harbour phase scheduled at Port Blair, professional exchanges, sports fixtures and cross deck familiarisation visits would be organised. The sea phase scheduled from September18-20, a host of surface and air operations involving Gunnery, Force Protection Measures and Communication drills will be conducted providing experience gaining and learning from each other's best practices.
 
Besides fostering co-operation, the maiden IN-RSN-RTN Trilateral exercise would provide an opportunity for participating navies to come together in a spirit of collaboration to nurture stronger ties, the release added.
 
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Minor earthquake shakes Nicobar Islands region

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An earthquake of slight intensity, measuring 4.6 on the Richter scale, shook the Nicobar Islands region this afternoon.
 
A bulletin from the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said the quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 8.9°N and longitude 93.4°E, occurred at 1449 hours at a focal depth of 10 km.
 
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Minor earthquake shakes Andaman Islands region

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An earthquake of slight intensity, measuring 4.8 on the Richter scale, shook the Andaman Islands region this morning, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
 
The quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 12.3°N and longitude 94.8°E, occurred at 0656 hours at a focal depth of 10 km, an IMD bulletin  added.
 
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Minor earthquake shakes Andaman Islands region

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An earthquake of slight intensity, measuring 4.6 on the Richter scale, shook the Andaman Islands region early this morning, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
 
The quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 14.5°N and longitude 92.9°E, occurred at 0613 hours at a focal depth of 10 km, an IMD bulletin added.
 
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Minor earthquake shakes Andaman Islands region

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An earthquake of slight intensity, measuring 4.9 on the Richter scale, shook the Andaman Islands region in the early hours of today, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
 
The quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 12.2°N and longitude 92.7°E, occurred at 0349 hours a focal depth of 10 km, an IMD bulletin added.
 
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Minor earthquake recorded in Nicobar Islands region

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An earthquake of slight intensity, measuring 4.5 on the Richter scale, was recorded in the Nicobar Islands region this morning.
 
The quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 8.2°N and longitude 93.3°E, occurred at 0749 hours at a focal depth of 35 km, a bulletin from the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
 
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Two earthquakes shake Andaman Islands region

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Two earthquakes, measuring 5.0 and 4.8 on the Richter scale, shook the Andaman Islands region in  the early hours of today, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
 
The first quake, of magnitude 5, which had its epicentre at latitude 13.9°N and longitude 92.8°E, ocurred at 0253 hours at a focal depth of 10 km, an IMD bulletin said.
 
The second, of magnitude 4.8, which  had its epicentre at latitude 10.6°N and longitude 91.5°E, occurred at 0449 hours at a focal depth of 10 km, it added.
 
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Congress snatches Andaman and Nicobar seat from BJP

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Congress candidate Kuldeep Rai Sharma snatched the Lok Sabha seat from the BJP by humbling its candidate Vishal Jolly with a 1,407-vote margin in the vote count on Thursday.
 
Sharma got 95,308 votes, while Jolly had to be content with 93,901.
 
BJP's Bishnu Pada Roy had won the seat in 2014.
 
IANS
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Magnitude 5.8 earthquake jolts Andaman Islands region

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An earthquake of moderate intensity, measuring 5.8 on the Richter scale, jolted the Andaman Islands region early this morning, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
 
The quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 13.9°N and longitude 93.0°E, occurred at 0609 hours at a focal depth of 10 km, an IMD bulletin said.
 
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Minor earthquuake shakes Nicobar Islands region

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An earthquake of slight intensity, measuring 4.5 on the Richter scale, shook the Nicobar Islands region in the early hours of today, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
 
The quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 7.4°N and longitude 94.2°E, occurred at 0204 hours at a focal depth of 10 km, an IMD bulletin said.
 
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Minor earthquake shakes Nicobar Islands region

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An earthquake of slight intensity, measuring 4.5 on the Richter scale, shook the Nicobar Islands region in the early hours of today.
 
A bulletin from the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said the quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 9.3°N and longitude 92.9°E, occurred at 0020 hours at a focal depth of 10 km.
 
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Two moderate earthquakes jolt Nicobar Islands region

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Two earthquakes of moderate intensity jolted the Nicobar Islands region in the early hours of today, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
 
The first quake, measuring 5.0 on the Richter scale, occurred at 0322 hours and  had its epicentre at latitude 7.7°N and longitude 94.3°E, with a focal depth of 10 km.
 
The second tremor, of magnitude 5.1, occurred five minutes later with its epicentre at latitude 7.7°N and longitude 94.3°E at a focal depth of 10 km, an IMD bulletin added.
 
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Minor earthquakes shake Andaman and Nicobar Islands regions

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An earthquake of slight intensity, measuring 4.9 on the Richter scale, shook the Nicobar Islands region in the early hours of today, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
 
The quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 7.3°N and longitude 94.3°E, occurred at 0213 hours at a focal depth of 10 km, an IMD bulletin said.
 
Later, at 0432 hours, another mild earthquake, measuring 4.6 on the Richter scale, was recorded in the Andaman Islands region.
 
The tremor, which had its epicentre at latitude 14.2°N and longitude 94.1°E, occurred at a focal depth of 10 km,  the bulletin added.
 
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Moderate earthquake shakes Andaman Islands region

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An earthquake of moderate intensity, measuring 5.0 on the Richter scale, shook the Andaman Islands region this morning, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
 
The quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 13.2°N and longitude 95.4°E, occurred at 0724 hours at a focal depth of 10 km.
 
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20 tremors jolt Nicobar Islands region in space of ten and a half hours

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As many as 20 earthquakes of slight to moderate intensity, ranging in magnitude from 4.5 to 5.5 on the Richter scale, shook the Nicobar Islands region in the space of about ten and a half hours today, the India Meteorlogical Department (IMD) said.
 
The first tremor, measuring 4.9, with its epicentre at latitude 7.7°N and longitude 94.4°E, occurred at 0514 hours at a focal depth of 10 km.
 
This was followed by a series of 19 more quakes in roughly the same area, with  the last, measuring 4.8 on the Richter scale, recorded at 1544 hours, with its epicentre at latitude 7.4°N and longitude 94.1°E and a focal depth of 4.8.
 
The strongest of the tremors was of magnitude 5.5. It had its epicentre at latitude 7.5°N and longitude 94.2°E, and occurred at 1341 hours at a focal depth of 10 km.
 
One of the other 19 quakes was of magnitude 5.2, two were of magnitude 5, four of 4.9, six of magnitude 4.8, one of 4.7, one of 4.6 and four of magnitude 4.5.
 
No loss of life or property was reported from anywhere in the region, which is an earthquake-prone area.
 
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Two moderate earthquakes shake Andaman Islands region

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Two earthquakes of moderate intensity, both measuring 5.1 on the Richter scale, shook the Andaman Islands region ten minutes apart this evening, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
 
The first quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 14.2°N and longitude 92.9°E, occurred at 1659 hours at a focal depth of 10 km.
 
The second tremor had its epicentre at latitude 14.0°N and longitude 93.1°E, and occurred at 1709 hours at a depth of 60 km, an IMD bulletin added.
 
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Nirav Modi held in London, in police custody

Nirav Modi. Image from Nirav Modi group's Facebook page.
Nirav Modi. Image from Nirav Modi group's Facebook page.
Fourteen months after he fled India, fugitive diamantaire Nirav Modi has been arrested in London in connection with the Rs 13,500 crore PNB fraud case and was sent to police custody till March 29 after being denied bail.
 
The 48-year-old businessman was arrested from Holborn on Tuesday afternoon on behalf of Indian authorities and was produced before a judge at the Westminster Magistrates Court on Wednesday.
 
He was denied bail and will stay in custody until the next hearing on March 29.
 
According to informed sources, the Westminster court in its lengthy hearing observed that Nirav Modi should be kept in Metropolitan Police custody due to his involvement in fraud of high value funds and access to means of escape. 
 
The Police made the arrest seven days after the Westminster Court issued an arrest warrant against Nirav Modi who left India days before the scam came to light in January 2018. 
 
The court had issued arrest warrant after UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid referred to India's extradition request for Nirav Modi.
 
The Interpol had issued a Red Corner Notice against Nirav Modi in July 2018 at the request of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). 
 
The businessman's whereabouts were a mystery as he had been spotted in New York, Hong Kong and other cities. Along with his uncle Mehul Choksi of Gitanjali Group, Nirav Modi left the country before the CBI formally started investigating the PNB scam.
 
The ED had on May 24 and 26 last year filed chargesheets against both men. Non-bailable warrants were also issued against them.
 
The development came days after the The Telegraph newspaper in Britain claimed that Nirav Modi was spotted in London.
 
He was said to be living in a three-bedroom flat, occupying half the floor of the landmark Centre Point tower block, the daily reported. 
 
It claimed Nirav Modi was involved in a new diamond business, run from an office in Soho, just a few hundred yards from his apartment. The new business was incorporated in May 2018, it said.
 
An extradition request against him had been pending before the UK authorities since September last year.
 
The ED on February 26 attached Rs 147 crore worth of property of Nirav Modi and his associate companies in connection with the PNB case.
 
IANS
 

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33rd India-Indonesia Coordinated Patrol commences at Port Blair

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Indonesian Naval Ship KRI Sultan Thaha Syaifuddin and Maritime Patrol Aircraft CN-235 led by Cmde Dafit Santoso arrived here today for the opening ceremony of the 33rd edition of the India-Indonesia Coordinated Patrol (IND-INDO CORPAT) to be held from March 19 to April 4.
 
Indonesian Ambassador Shidharto Raza Suryodipuro will also be here to attend the opening ceremony to be held on March 20-21. The Indian delegation is led by the senior officer from the Indian Navy, Commodore Ashutosh Ridhorkar, Naval Component Commander, Andaman and Nicobar Command.
 
The ship and aircraft from both the countries will undertake patrolling on the respective sides of 236 nautical miles long International Maritime Boundary line. The patrolling would be conducted in three phases from March 22-31.
 
This will be followed by a Closing Ceremony at Belawan, Indonesia, which is scheduled from April 1-4.
 
The IND-INDO CORPAT series of bilaterals seek to underscore India’s peaceful presence and solidarity with friendly maritime neighbour countries to ensure good order in the maritime domain, consolidate interoperability and strengthen existing bonds of friendship between India and Indonesia, an official press release said.
 
During the stay in Port Blair harbour, various activities such as official calls, formal reception on board ship, sporting fixtures between both navies, ship open to visitors and professional interactions have been planned.          
 
Indian Naval assets have been increasingly deployed in recent times to address the maritime concerns on the region. In addition, as part of the Indian Government’s vision of SAGAR (Security and Growth for All in the Region), the Indian Navy has also been involved in assisting countries in the Indian Ocean Region with EEZ Surveillance, Search and Rescue, and other capacity-building and capability-enhancement activities.
 
The 33rd IND-INDO CORPAT, also coinciding with 70 years of India-Indonesia diplomatic ties, will contribute towards the Indian Navy’s efforts to consolidate inter-operability and forge strong bonds of friendship across the seas, the release added.
 
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Minor earthquake shakes Andaman Islands region

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An earthquake of slight intensity, measuring 4.8 on the Richter scale, shook the Andaman Islands region early this morning, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
 
The  quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 11.9°N and longitude 93.6°E, occurred at 0644 hours at a focal depth of 95 km, an IMD bulletin added.
 
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