Andaman and Nicobar Islands: Strategic Significance and Infrastructure Upgrade

GS-3 mains : Economy 

Short Notes or Revision Notes 

Question : Discuss the geostrategic significance of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands for India and explain the recent military infrastructure upgrades undertaken in the region.

Geostrategic Significance

  • Plays an important role in regional security and disaster situations
  • Provides a commanding position over traffic between the Andaman Sea and South China Sea through the Malacca Strait (critical for trade)
  • Andaman and Nicobar Command (ANC) established in 2001 (India’s first tri-service command)

Economic Potential

  • 2% of India’s landmass but 30% of its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ)
  • Blue economy holds significant development potential

Strategic Military Infrastructure Upgrade (as of April 10, 2024)

  • Revamped Airfields and Jetties
    • Airstrip extension to accommodate larger aircraft (P8Is, fighter jets)
    • Expanded jetty to accommodate bigger ships
  • Additional Logistics and Storage Facilities
    • Deployment of additional forces, larger warships, aircraft, missile batteries
    • Runway expansion to 3,000 meters and maintenance infrastructure creation
  • Habitat for Troops
    • Enhanced surveillance on a northern island
    • Construction of permanent troop habitat
  • Robust Surveillance Infrastructure

Challenges and Issues

  • Ecological Impact: Threat to fragile ecosystem and Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs)
  • Protection of Indigenous Tribes: Balancing development with tribal and ecological well-being
  • Infrastructure and Industrialization: Slow internet, transportation bottlenecks, lack of skilled workforce, low population density, and resource scarcity
  • Climate Change Vulnerability: Impacts on forests, biodiversity, coastal ecosystems, agriculture, fisheries, water resources, and energy


  • Andaman and Nicobar Islands are strategically important for trade, commerce, and strategic cooperation.
  • Crucial component of India’s Act East Policy for regional engagement.
  • Military infrastructure upgrade strengthens India’s defense capabilities.
  • Responsible development is essential to protect the unique ecology and indigenous populations.

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