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Andaman & Nicobar undergo major military infra upgrade amidst rising Chinese influence

The development occurs amidst increasing Chinese efforts to expand influence in the region, exemplified by their military facility construction on Myanmar’s Coco Islands, near the A&N Islands.
Last Updated : 10 April 2024, 13:34 IST

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Senior officials familiar with the developments have confirmed to The Indian Express daily that the Andaman and Nicobar (A&N) Islands, strategically significant, is undergoing a substantial military infrastructure enhancement.

This includes renovated airfields, expanded jetties, additional logistics and storage facilities, and improved living quarters for troops, alongside a strengthened surveillance system, with an aim to accommodate more military forces, larger warships, aircraft, missile batteries, and troops.

This development occurs amidst increasing Chinese efforts to expand influence in the region, exemplified by their military facility construction on Myanmar’s Coco Islands, near the A&N Islands.

Plans are underway to enhance surveillance infrastructure on a northern island, and to establish a permanent troop habitat there, Express reported citing sources.

Additionally, improvements include airstrip lengthening at a key naval air station to accommodate larger aircraft, expanding jetties for bigger ships, and upgrading roads for increased traffic flow.

Significant upgrades also involve transforming an IAF station to support fighter squadrons for extended durations, involving runway expansion and asset maintenance infrastructure.

The A&N Islands hold significant strategic value as they sit astride one of the world's busiest sea routes, offering India the capability to monitor traffic flow from the South China Sea (Pacific Ocean) to the Andaman Sea (Indian Ocean) via the crucial Strait of Malacca, a route is vital for trade and oil shipments in the Indo-Pacific region.

To enhance surveillance, the government has requested the National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC) to increase resources for satellite image analysis and data dissemination for 55 inhabited islands in Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Lakshadweep, the publication said.

The NRSC, based in Hyderabad, manages satellite data processing and disaster management. Additionally, the Ministry of Home Affairs recently organized a Multi-Agency Maritime Security Group (MAMSG) meeting to discuss surveillance of uninhabited islands, involving coastal security officials, the Navy, and NRSC.

The A&N Islands comprise 836 islands, with only 38 inhabited. Established in 2001, the Andaman and Nicobar Command (ANC) is the sole tri-service command in the islands.

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Published 10 April 2024, 13:34 IST

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