THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The commanders’ conference beginning at the Southern Air Command (SAC) headquarters at Akkulam here on Wednesday assumes significance in the backdrop of the recent fishing craft-merchant vessel conflicts off the Indian coast.
Air Chief Marshal N A K Browne arrived in the city on Tuesday on a two-day visit and he will be inaugurate the conference on Wednesday. All commanders under the SAC will be attending Wednesday’s conference, sources said.
Since April 1, 2009, the SAC has been in charge of the Maritime Air Operations (MAO) HQ based in Mumbai.
The proximity of international shipping lanes, the development of mega-infrastructure projects on the southern peninsula including big ports, and the increasing Chinese interest in the Indian Ocean region have prompted IAF to look southwards more intensely.
Besides, after the Enrica Lexie shooting and the second mishap involving a merchant vessel and a fishing boat there has been vociferous demands for more streamlined coordination between defence agencies and the state government institutions for ensuring the safety of fishermen.