INHS Dhanvantari

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INHS Dhanvantari

Historical Background

In the years that followed Independence, the Indian Navy’s presence in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands gradually increased in keeping with the strategic maritime importance of these islands. However, there was no service hospital to provide medical cover and the only civil hospital in Port Blair – GB Pant Hospital was extending medical facilities.

With increasing personnel being deployed for longer durations, it became imperative for the Navy to have a hospital of its own in this geographically isolated location. Sanction was accorded for the establishment of a 25-bedded Naval Hospital at Port Blair in Jun 73.

Initially called Naval Hospital, Port Blair and located at Haddo, the hospital was inaugurated on 01 Aug 74. On 07 Oct 74, it was commissioned as Indian Naval Hospital Ship Dhanvantari with Surg Cdr OP Chawla as its first Commanding Officer.

Increasing number of patients created the need for more space. The hospital was relocated to the old Base Victualling Yard area in Port Blair in Mar 78 where the buildings were barrack-type and Reappropriate for use as hospital wards. Almost a decade and a half would pass before INHS Dhanvantari would, as a 107-bedded hospital, move to modern and specifically designed hospital buildings in Minnie Bay on 05 Aug 92. The new hospital complex was inaugurated by VAdm SK Chand, AVSM, Fortress Commander, Andaman and Nicobar Islands. .

Initially, the hospital was under the administrative control of the Fortress Headquarters based at Port Blair, which in turn was under the Eastern Naval Command. On 08 Oct 01, with the formation of the Tri-Services Andaman and Nicobar Command, this hospital was placed under the Commander-in-Chief, Andaman and Nicobar Command.

The role the hospital has played over the years in providing assistance and humanitarian aid to the civil authorities in various situations has earned acclaim from all quarters and this was formalized when the hospital was awarded the Honorary Lieutenant Governer‘s Commendation on 15 Aug 02.