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Andaman and Nicobar Islands

Published: 11th Apr, 2024

Andaman and Nicobar Islands


With revamped airfields and jetties to additional logistics and storage facilities, habitat for troops to a robust surveillance infrastructure, the strategic Andaman and Nicobar Islands are in the middle of a major military infrastructure upgrade.

About Andaman and Nicobar Islands
  • The ANI are two groups of islands—the Andaman Islands and the Nicobar Islands, covering an area of 8,249 sq km.
  • The entire island chain consists of 836 islands including islets and rocky outcrops, of which some 38 are permanently inhabited by a population of over 430,000.
  • The islands are governed as a single Union Territory by the Central Government of India, through the Andaman Nicobar Administration.
  • The capital city of Port Blair is the seat of the Administration, headed by the Lieutenant Governor, who serves as direct link with the Central Government. 
  • The ANI are also home to India’s only integrated tri-service command of the armed forces—the Andaman and Nicobar Command for maritime surveillance and enhancing India’s strategic presence in the eastern Indian Ocean as it merges into the Pacific.

Need of the move

  • Monitoring Chinese activities: India is monitoring the Chinese aided activity in the nearby Coco Islands of Myanmar.
    • Beijing’s strategic footprint can be seen Ream national park in Cambodia, Hambantota port in Sri Lanka, Gwadar in Balochistan, Chah Bahar in Iran and at Khalifa port in UAE.
  • Strategic importance of islands: The Andaman and Nicobar Islands are of great strategic importance as they straddle one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world and give India the reach to monitor the flow of traffic from the South China Sea (Pacific Ocean) to the Andaman Sea (Indian Ocean) through the Strait of Malacca, which is crucial for trade and oil shipments in the Indo-Pacific.

Fact Box: Coco Islands

  • The Coco Islands are a part of Yangon region of Myanmar. It is a small, remote island in the Bay of Bengal.
  • Great Coco is small at 11km in length, but its location is strategically important. 
  • It is not only close to the Strait of Malacca, one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes, it also lies 55km from India’s Andaman and Nicobar Islands, which host Indian navy and air force bases.

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