A&N island through a strategic lens(Indian Express)

Syllabus: GS-III, Subject: Internal Security, Topic: Border Management, Issue: Andaman and Nicobar Islands

Context: New thrust on developing strategic infrastructure, both civilian and military, on the Andaman and Nicobar Islands

Strategic importance of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands:

  • Location, near key maritime choke points like the Malacca Strait.
  • Provide India substantial ocean space under UNCLOS
  • Share international maritime boundaries with Myanmar, Thailand, Indonesia, and Bangladesh.
  • Serve as the first line of defense against potential maritime threats from the East.

Slow infrastructure development has been attributed to

  • Delayed realization of strategic significance, distance from the mainland, environmental clearances, and coordination challenges.

The way ahead:

  • Strategic infrastructure development should focus on:
  • Surveillance, deterrence against naval misadventure,
  • Bolstering maritime economy, improving transportation,
  • Reducing dependence on mainland support,
  • Prioritizing key projects like airfields, ports, and road networks.
  • Development efforts can be expedited through :
  • International collaboration,
  • Leveraging international arrangements like the Quad and IPOI,
  • Streamlining environmental clearances.
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