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Sasi asked: Is it viable for India to set up military bases abroad? Which are the other countries with bases abroad and where all?

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  • Harinder Singh replies: A “military base” is a facility established or operated by the military or one of its branches that shelters military equipment and personnel, and facilitates training and operations, in pursuit of a country's national security objectives. More than 1,000 military bases and installations exist around the world; most of these are operated by the United States, which has a military presence in over several dozen countries (details of which can be surfed on the internet). These range from vast installations, like Guantanamo Bay, to smaller military bases or training camps, nuclear missile sites, rest and recuperation camps and refuelling stations. In addition, the US and some of its NATO allies complement this vast military presence with an even more elaborate network of port-of-call rights, and landing rights for military aircraft. In so far as India is concerned, it has traditionally engaged in defence cooperation with friendly foreign countries as an important component of the national security strategy. It encompasses visits, contacts, exchanges, exercises, port calls and training facilitation to build and maintain trust in the interests of mutual security. The Indian Navy in particular has been forging strong partnerships with a number of navies in the Indian Ocean region, the more notable ones being the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Singapore, Vietnam and Japan. In this regard, India has also been engaging the island nations strategically located in the Indian Ocean region.